This Is the Zodiac Speaking: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer

This Is the Zodiac Speaking: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer

by Michael D. Kelleher Ph.D., David Van Nuys


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California was thrown into a paralysis of fear in 1969, distraught over the unsolved murders of the Zodiac killer. The Zodiac became the most elusive and frustrating adversary ever encountered by the law enforcement community in the San Francisco Bay Area. A series of letters, allegedly written by the murderer himself and published in local newspapers, only added to the mystery and panic. Over 30 years after he exploded onto the headlines of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Zodiac serial killer remains an enigma that is unparalleled in the history of crime in America, and the case remains unsolved. Violence expert Michael Kelleher and psychologist David Van Nuys attempt to provide a glimpse into the mind of this mysterious murderer.

Kelleher and Van Nuys reconstruct the crime scenes, delve into the records, and psychoanalyze the Zodiac's letters to newspapers and the law enforcement agencies. The facts of the case and the fragmentary glimpses of the Zodiac's psychodynamics that came through his letters forced the authors, reluctantly, to draw a conclusion that is sure to be controversial-namely, that the Zodiac suffered from multiple personality disorder. They also debunk many popular legends and myths about the case, laying out the limited facts that we do have on the notorious Zodiac.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313361388
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/30/2001
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 613,747
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL D. KELLEHER, who has written widely on the subject of violence, specializes in threat assessment, strategic management, and human resources management for organizations in the private and public sectors. He is the author of When Good Kids Kill (1998), Murder Most Rare (1998), Profiling the Lethal Employee (1997), Flash Point: The American Mass Murderer (1997), and New Arenas for Violence (1996), all published by Praeger.

DAVID VAN NUYS is Chair of the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University in Northern California. He serves on the board of directors of Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. Van Nuys earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan and has worked as a licensed psychotherapist in both New Hampshire and California. A frequent public speaker, he has also published in professional journals, popular magazines and was the author of a nationally syndicated newspaper column. In addition to his university teaching, Van Nuys is President of e-FocusGroups, a market research consulting firm.

Table of Contents


In the Beginning

Heyday of Murder

Murder, Fear, and Uncertainty


Slipping Away

Killing In Silence?

The Return

Legends, Myths, and Facts

Portrait of a Killer

What Will We Ever Know?




What People are Saying About This

Stanley Krippner

"A thrilling detective story, one that many of its readers will not be able to put down. Kelleher and Van Nuys have done their homework in spades; the result is a book that explores those dark and dangerous dimensions of the human psyche that many people tend to ignore. The authors make a compelling case that the Zodiac was suffering from a dissociative identity disorder, in other words that 'multiple personalities' were involved in his crimes."

Alan W. Benner

"Michael Kelleher and David Van Nuys have combined journalistic and psychological skills to resurrect the Zodiac Case and give it new life. I was among the uniformed officers searching for Zodiac 30 years ago. Back then, we were never provided the kind of specific facts and theories so well compiled by Kelleher and Van Nuys, nor did we have these psychological profiling capabilities available to us. This excellent rendering of Zodiac's evil psyche could have made a difference. As it is, this deft analysis raises the possibility that the Zodiac may still be among us. We may get him yet!"

Doug Davis

"Unless the Zodiac killer is finally apprehended or decides to resume his public personna, this is probably as close as we will get to a sense of what moved an individual both to such extremes of private violence and to such demands for public acknowledgment. Thanks to Kelleher and Van Nuys, a new generation is invited to puzzle over what drives an individual like the Zodiac."

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