The Axeman of New Orleans: Possible Inspiration?
Anyone ever heard of the Axeman of New Orleans? Hear me out:
This guy targets like a dozen couples at least. The list seems endless. There’s an M.O. but not extremely rigid. Many victims survive their attacks. Then he sends a letter to a newspaper. The crypt letter reads in short clipped sentences. The killer identities himself as a demon who can’t be stopped. It taunts the police. It says how he is in control "not you humans" and he’ll be the one to decide whose next. He engages with the public saying he will "passover " New Orleans on a certain date and any home playing jazz outside the window will be spared. These murders happened in the early 1900s.
When listening to the evidence and his letter though. The couples killings, he usually focuses more on one sex than another, there are survivors, never solved, the killer identities as better/ different than "humans" writes to newspapers, gives himself other worldly names. Who does this sound like ?
So now I’m trying to research how wide the Axe Man coverage may have been Nation Wide, in surrounding states, between say 1930 &1955 if any Zodiac have a Louisiana connection (born there, college, family) is this AxeMan an example, a sick "hero" he drew off of?
Could there be a connection? I know it’s a stretch, but it struck me suddenly and if any of the primes in the Z case had exposure to the Axe Man tales( maybe growing up close to his killing field ) he’d jump to the top of my list. I know Earl Van Best Jr. is from Baton Rouge, but I’m not sure if he’s what many would consider a prime suspect.
Additionally, there is an Axeman -L.A. connection: The widow of the last know Axeman victim shot and killed a man in LA in 1921 possibly a revenge deal.
Here’s a wiki link to the Axeman page. You can view the letter to the press there. To me it smacked very strongly of Zodiacs timbre and voice. Am I crazy?
Z is obviously too young to be directly connected. But say for example:
A young Zodiac, possibly working in a library, a library say up there road in Riverside, Ca, some across an old article about the "momfre murder" and his connection to AxeMan. Maybe he’s intrigued. He digs a little deeper and is so inspired he uses similar techniques. Axeman was also never solved.
Or, perhaps Zodiac or a close relative is from the area. Maybe was involved. A young Zodiac here’s the tales from an uncle, a neighbor, even a co worker in passing and again researches Axe and finds ways to skip Axe homages into his Z persona/m..o
What say you sleuths?
I am familiar with this case and had always thought Zodiac might have been inspired by the letter apparently sent by the Axeman to a newspaper following one of the murders. I do not believe the Axeman (if he existed, which is disputed) wrote the letter as it seems to be written by a well-educated person. Not that I’m saying that an educated person couldn’t commit the murders, just that this increases the likelihood that it was a bogus letter designed as a prank. It is addressed from ‘Hell’, in an obvious reference to Jack The Ripper, and there is a reference to ‘Tartarus’, a kind of hell in Greek mythology.
I am sure that Z was hoping his letters would have the same effect on San Francisco – his ‘school bus’ threats certainly did. I also think he borrowed from the language and subject matter in the Axeman letter, as you suggest. I cover this case in more detail on my own website (link in my signature) but here’s the letter in full :
March 13, 1919
Esteemed Mortal of New Orleans:
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a fell demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know who they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with the blood and brains of him whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police not to rile me. Of course I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigation in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to amuse not only me but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship to the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to visit New Orleans again. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of those people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and as it is about time that I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, and that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
Check out my website: www.darkideas.net
This is the Axeman speaking…..
A few minutes ago on a toilet not very far, far away….
Worthless asshole, better to let his ashes rot with some worms around. As it is too late to charge him. Bad story, so far unknown, thanks…creepy.
99,9% the guy was Italian – three Italian victims at least (Cruti, Rosetti, Schiambra). Only Italian victims, ‘dark’ appearance of the assailant. Mostly grocery stores owners..
Un cazzo grande..but not necessarily Italian. Maybe Joseph Mumfre was shot for justice.
Zodiac was either influenced by Jack The Ripper (even though most of the Ripper letters, if not all, were forgeries) or by a combination of elements of villains from fiction. He might have been influenced also by the Phantom Killer of Texarkana by reading about it in some crime magazine, because of the murders at lover’s lanes and the use of the hood to hide the face.
The Black Dahlia. Happened in Southern California when Zodiac would have likely been a child or teenager. And the killer mailed letters to the police, including some of the victim’s (Elizabeth Short) belongings. I’ve always thought this case made a huge impression on Zodiac. He would have noticed the media attention.
I think he was an early “true crime” aficionado. He likely knew of Jack the Ripper, the Axeman of New Orleans, the Texarcana Phantom, and the Black Dahlian among many others. He also probably drew inspiration from popular culture events of the 1960s. Personally, I believe that one of the greatest influences on him was the escape from Alcatraz. Those men were romanticized in a way that the burgeoning Zodiac probably envied.
He was a complex man, and he almost certainly had complex motivations and inspirations.