The 1974 Christmas Card and Envelope


Use of envelope courtesy of Mary Pilker.


This envelope is addressed to an individual, Mary Pilker, Donna Lass' sister, who, like Donna, was a Registered Nurse. Zodiac sent letters to individuals on several occasions: Joseph Bates, Melvin Belli, Kathleen Johns (a Halloween card, October 1970), Paul Avery (a Halloween card 10/27/70 and "Peek through the pines" card on 3/22/71.) Zodiac also referred to an individual in a letter - Marco Spinelli.


Up until the time that the Channel Nine letter was sent in 1978, Zodiac did not use Zip Codes on his envelopes, which is evident on this one that was postmarked 12/27/74. The Zip Code system was in effect but as of this date the post office was not yet really enforcing its use.


As of this date air mail postage was 11 cents. There are two 10 cent stamps used - more than was needed - a Zodiac trait. The first stamp is tilted slightly downward to the right. Coincidence?


There is no "St." after "Grange" - another Zodiac touch. Two other examples of omitting the word "St." are the letter to Melvin Belli and the Halloween card to Paul Avery.


The postmark is 940 or Alameda County. The Zodiac's Exorcist letter of 1/29/74 was mailed from 940. The 940 code was only used in San Francisco from May 1973 through 1974 and part of 1975.


"Via Air Mail" is underlined twice. Zodiac underlined words for emphasis sometimes - sometimes twice - even as many as six times on one occasion. Zodiac's 3/13/71 envelope has "Air Mail" on it so this could be the second missive so sent.


The postmark date is 12/27/74. Bruce Davis was involved in murders occurring on 7/27/69 and 8/27/69. Zodiac made an attack on 9/27/69. Davis was released from jail on 10/27/69. The Avery Halloween card was postmarked 10/27/70. A lot of coincidental 27s?



Use of card courtesy of Mary Pilker.


This is a Christmas and New Year greeting just like Zodiac sent to Melvin Belli. Zodiac sent other illustrated greeting cards as well.


1974 is the year that Zodiac was sending letters that had changes of appearance and content. He would even change his writing style at times - because he could. His 7/8/74 "Red Phantom" letter is a prime example.


Note the large tree in the center of the card surrounded by others. This is like the statement on Zodiac's 3/22/71 postcard in reference to Donna Lass (who disappeared on 9/6/70) where it said, "Peek through the pines." The whole card, including the stamps, shows lots of snow like the "around in the snow" reference on the 3/22/71 postcard.


It has been remarked that the hand-written message was insensitive and cruel. Yet another Zodiac mannerism - like the note sent to Joseph Bates.


The appearance of the hand-written message does not resemble "classic" Zodiac handwriting. A major reason for this is that all Zodiac letters since 1966 (except for the 4/30/67 envelope (reproduced in The Zodiac / Manson Connection)) are PRINTED! Samples of Zodiac's script style of writing are not available for comparison. All of Zodiac's other traits and characteristics appear to be present, however!


Zodiac could and did change his style of writing. Compare the 12/20/69 letter to the 7/8/74 letter. Compare the "Red Phantom" letter of 7/8/74 with the three letters of 7/31/69. Compare the 1/29/74 note to the 10/13/69 letter. There are even radical differences in envelopes. See the 10/27/70 and 1/29/74 envelopes. There are even other examples of letter and envelope differences. If the "Red Phantom" letter's anomaly is a genuine Zodiac missive then why not this Christmas card, too?


There are some interesting similarities between the handwriting on this Christmas card and Bruce Davis' handwriting. Davis is known to have used some eight different styles of writing! See:


Handwriting Styles of Bruce Davis


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