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"…coupple howers…"

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Norse
(@norse)
Posts: 1764
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Just a brief observation:

This particular misspelling seems…genuine to me. I got to thinking about it earlier today – having forgotten it – after seeing several instances of the now common "should of" error. More and more people use this: "He should of called her." This is obviously an error born out of writing what you hear, as it were: "Should’ve" sounds much like "should of", hence the error. Now, "coupple howers" falls into the same category. When saying "a couple of hours" fast (but not unnaturally fast) it sounds like "couplehours", the "of" being pretty much swallowed.

In my opinion this is a mistake which an uneducated person or a kid might make (just like "should of", though the latter is very common now among people who are well enough educated too, probably has something to do with net speak and cell phones and all that). It is, however, not something you’d think of misspelling on purpose in that form. Or so I would – perhaps – say.

The first word, "coupple", yes – absolutely. The second word, "howers", yes – that too, certainly. Both these are good candidates for purposely misspelled words. But the combination of these, without the "of", is something else. That looks much more like a an honest mistake to me – and not like something you’d think about constructing for the purpose of covering your tracks.

Could easily be wrong, of course – but there you are.

 
Posted : August 18, 2014 2:17 am
(@coffee-time)
Posts: 624
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"Hower" is an archaic spelling of "hour." "Drownd" (Belli letter) is also Old English for "Drowned."

Ricardo did some interesting research on Zodiac’s spellings:
http://mk-zodiac.com/game.html

 
Posted : August 18, 2014 5:22 am
Norse
(@norse)
Posts: 1764
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Yep – the archaic English angle is interesting. Someone once pointed out that his syntax – and not just the odd spelling – is partly in tune with older norms.

I don’t know, though. Some of his misspellings are very straightforward. A mix of schoolboy errors and the deliberate use of archaic forms? Sure, it’s possible. Even his famous "clews" is possible to interpret in this way, as "clew" is actually an outdated spelling of "clue". It is also just about the only way (bar "cloo", perhaps, but that would look plain wrong to anyone, I think) to misspell "clue" for someone who wasn’t dyslectic.*

* I doubt Z was dyslectic. If he was, he couldn’t have been afflicted in any ordinary way.

I tend to think that Z either misspelled words on purpose in order to – further – disguise his handwriting (I even believe the latter might have been a known technique at the time, which he may have picked up from somewhere) OR that he simply was a horrible and or idiosyncratic speller for whatever reason.

I tend not to think that he left "clews" in the spelling itself. Subconsciously, maybe – but not in an obvious way. I doubt that he unwittingly dropped significant hints about his identity by using certain words and phrases. The British connection, for instance, has always struck me as being tenuous enough.

 
Posted : August 18, 2014 5:34 pm
(@joedetective)
Posts: 276
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Z seems to have been inspired by homicide cases in history. I think the misspellings are an homage to Jack the Ripper. The misspelled word "clews" could come from the story of the kid who was sending threatening letters to his neighbor, signing them Red Phanthom. And there’s Bud Lord who was found dead with a message attached to him, complete with the crosshair symbol. The word "accidentally" was misspelled I think in that letter. I guess it’s possible Z was the kid who called himself the Red Phanthom, or maybe he killed Bud Lord, but thar seems highly unlikely.

As for the British idioms and phonetics, I will say I live on an island settled by the English and Irish hundreds of years ago, and the way we speak is very reminiscent of old English. Being an island, isolation has kept our way of speaking from evolving the way it has elsewhere. Anyway, my point is that Z’ s phonetics way of spelling and certain phrases resemble the way we speak. For example, "salt beef" may sound very foreign to most of you, but it’s common where I live.

 
Posted : August 19, 2014 1:10 am
(@coffee-time)
Posts: 624
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Strictly IMHO, there are just too many "coincidences" (case in point: "cid" is Latin for "cut" or "kill" — which ties into the later SLA letter) for me, personally, to believe it was all just bad spelling.

These references would have flown over most people’s heads at the time — no Google or Wiktionary in 1969, which I think is pretty telling, inofitself: he either spent a lot of time in really well-stocked libraries, or he actually owned all of these books he cribbed these wordplays and references from. I don’t believe he was necessarily giving us clues to who he was, per se, but I do believe that he was, at the very least, flaunting his intelligence in a self-amused manner. As I said, IMHO. :D

 
Posted : August 20, 2014 6:23 am
smithy
(@smithy)
Posts: 955
Prominent Member
 

Yep.
I’m not sure that the SLA letter’s one of his – at all – but the rest? Yep. ;)

 
Posted : August 20, 2014 10:59 am
(@coffee-time)
Posts: 624
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I’m on the fence about the ’74 series, but I find the SLA letter more compelling in light of this theory. :ugeek:

 
Posted : August 21, 2014 6:37 am
(@mccririck)
Posts: 66
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I suspect this is a case of people finding things where they were not intended.

 
Posted : June 12, 2020 1:42 am
(@sushshaf)
Posts: 47
Trusted Member
 

I suspect this is a case of people finding things where they were not intended.

Given his ciphers have not been decoded, I think people attribute him to being some bright scholar with lots of time on his hands. What did people in 1960s do by themselves when they had time? Read books. Actually Zodiac did the 1960s version of surfing the net, he drove around.

I think people are over thinking this. I think that like a lot of serial killers they want the fame. Well he got it. He went from being an ordinary nobody to someone the world knows. In the end he didn’t have to kill, he just had to write letters. Given his cipher is still not solved, he went from being a poor speller in school who probably went into service for a few years, did some time at Deer Lodge Prison and worked in the garment factory they had there using prison labour, to becoming someone still talked about after 50 years. People discuss him as though he was some brilliant scholar. He wasn’t. He just happened to read a couple of books on ciphers an codes and his native intelligence that didn’t shine at school finally got noticed.
Edit: I will go further and claim his parents were migrants who couldn’t help him with his homework since they couldn’t read and write English well themselves.

 
Posted : October 15, 2020 11:36 pm
(@dag-maclugh)
Posts: 794
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Norse: Steinbeck, hardly an illiterate. on occasion used "should of", could of", etc. in his novels.

 
Posted : October 16, 2020 3:53 am
(@replaceablehead)
Posts: 418
Reputable Member
 

The Zodiac doesn’t have to be a genius, or an indiot. It’s a little obtuse though continuing to believe that anyone could spell that badly and still be able to construct a sentence. The first couple of letters sure, but by the end the misspellings reach the point of all out self parody. It’s almost as if he’s trying to see just how utterly preposterous he can be with it.

 
Posted : October 18, 2020 10:51 am
(@coffee-time)
Posts: 624
Honorable Member
 

Einstein might have lost to Zodiac in a spelling bee.

Ah, 2014. I was really into the MK-ZODIAC site back then…

 
Posted : October 19, 2020 1:19 am
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