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Preliminary Report on

"This is your hunter speaking. You are now dead."

The Most Dangerous Game
That The Zodiac Played

by Ricardo Eugirtni Gomez Copyright � 2008-2018

"The Most Dangerous Game"

In the 408-symbol cipher, the message from the Zodiac began as follows:

"I like killing people because it is so much fun.
It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest
because man is the most dangerous animal of all."

first 7 lines of 408-symbol cipher

As explained in Robert Graysmith�s books "Zodiac" (1986) and "Zodiac Unmasked" (2002), this particular wording caused investigators to suspect that the Zodiac was influenced by the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell which was originally published in 1924.

To read the short story, "The Most Dangerous Game", by Richard Connell, click here.

In 1932, this short story was adapted into the movie "The Most Dangerous Game".

This movie was directed by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack and starred Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, and Leslie Banks.

This movie was released on September 16, 1932.

Graysmith and others theorized that the Zodiac may have been inspired by this movie to use the costume and knife when the Zodiac attacked Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa on September 27, 1969.

Graysmith thought that the Zodiac may have watched this particular movie at the Avenue Theater in San Francisco circa 1969.

Avenue Theater listing 1969

To watch the 1932 movie, "The Most Dangerous Game", click here.

"The Most Dangerous Game" was adapted into radio shows, also.

To listen to the radio show versions of "The Most Dangerous Game", click here.

There have also been other movies, radio shows, television shows, and other genre based upon "The Most Dangerous Game".

"A Game of Death"

For example, one version of "The Most Dangerous Game" was the 1945 movie, "A Game of Death".

This movie was directed by Robert Wise and starred John Loder, Audrey Long, and Edgar Barrier.

This movie was released on November 23, 1945.

The Connection between Arthur Leigh Allen and "The Most Dangerous Game"

excerpt from report

There is evidence that Arthur Leigh Allen, one of the known suspects in the Zodiac case, had a connection with "The Most Dangerous Game".

On July 15, 1971, when Richard Amos and Art Langstaff interviewed Donald Cheney, Cheney explained that, during a conversation that happened when Cheney and Allen were hunting, in the context of writing a story, Allen talked about "hunting people" and Allen mentioned reading the short story "The Most Dangerous Game".

Cheney did not remember the exact date of the conversation. In the first interview on July 15, 1971, Cheney claimed that this conversation had happened sometime in January of 1968. Later, Cheney corrected himself because Cheney had moved on January 1, 1969, so it was possible that this conversation could have happened sometime before January 1, 1969. (Cheney was sure that the conversation could not have happened after he had moved.)

On December 30, 2000, when Tom Voigt (who is the administrator of the website interviewed Cheney, Cheney no longer remembered the exact name of the book or movie which Allen had mentioned during the conversation years ago. Cheney thought that it was possible that it might have been a television show.

On August 4, 1971, accompanied by Bill Armstrong, Jack Mulanax and Dave Toschi interviewed Arthur Leigh Allen.

During this interview, Allen specifically referred to the short story "The Most Dangerous Game".

Allen mentioned having conversations about the Zodiac with Ted Kidder and Phil Tucker who both worked at the Greater Vallejo Recreation District at that time (where Allen had been employed previously.)

Mulanax and Toschi interviewed Kidder and Tucker on the same day (August 4, 1971) about Allen.

Kidder did not remember talking about the Zodiac with Allen.

Tucker confirmed that he did have conversations with Allen about the Zodiac.

Tucker provided the investigators with information about Allen; however, it was not until years later (June 11, 1991) when Tucker told investigators that Allen had mentioned "hunting people".

On August 4, 1971, Mulanax and Toschi also interviewed Ronald, the brother of Allen, and Karen, Ronald�s wife.

Later, Ronald confirmed that Allen had mentioned something about "the most dangerous game".

Another person who was interviewed claimed that Allen said "I think of man as game".

On March 6, 1990, Karen, the wife of Allen�s brother, told Graysmith that Allen had conversations with her mother about the short story "The Most Dangerous Game".

On June 11, 1991, when George Bawart and Roy Conway interviewed Tucker about Arthur Leigh Allen, Tucker said that, when Tucker and Allen had gone scuba diving together, Allen suggested writing a story which would be related to "hunting people".

Phil Tucker thought that Allen had mentioned a book about hunting people with a bow and arrow. Tucker could not remember the name of the book. (Tucker did not think that Allen had mentioned either the short story or the movie, "The Most Dangerous Game".)

Tucker claimed that this conversation had happened before September of 1966. (Tucker was sure that the conversation could not have happened after he was married in September of 1966.)

Tucker had not mentioned this conversation previously when Mulanax and Toschi had interviewed Tucker in 1971.

Tucker said that he did not know Donald Cheney.

In the book "Zodiac Unmasked", Graysmith asserted that, when Tucker had the conversation with Allen about "hunting people", Allen had referred to the 1945 movie "A Game of Death". However, in the interview on June 11, 1991, Tucker did not remember the name of the book or movie which Allen had mentioned.

In 1992, George Bawart wrote the report, "Circumstances Which Indicate Arthur Leigh Allen, Is, in Fact, the Zodiac Killer", which was kept secret at the time.

This 1992 report by Bawart referred to the previous interviews with Cheney and Tucker.

Some of the information in this 1992 report is not accurate because the information was intended to be verified by other investigators.

In the 2009 book "Most Evil" by Steve Hodel (with Ralph Pezzullo), Hodel examined how "The Most Dangerous Game" may have inspired the Zodiac, particularly in relationship with the theory that George Hill Hodel was the Zodiac.

"Seventh Victim"

One of the other stories which was derived from "The Most Dangerous Game" was a short story called "Seventh Victim" which was written by Robert Sheckley in 1953.

This story was set in the future and described an organized system of legalized murder intended to satisfy the homicidal instincts of humans.

(This short story was included in the Robert Sheckley�s book "Untouched by Human Hands".)

To read the short story, "Seventh Victim", by Robert Sheckley, click here.

"Seventh Victim" was adapted into a radio show.

To listen to the radio show version of "Seventh Victim", click here.

To read the script of the radio show version of "Seventh Victim", click here.

"La Decima Vittima" - "The 10th Victim"

tenth victom

In 1965, this short story was adapted into an Italian movie called "La Decima Vittima".

The English title of the movie is "The 10th Victim".

This movie was directed by Elio Petri and starred Marcello Mastrolanni and Ursula Andress.

This movie was released on December 1, 1965.

To watch the trailer and scenes from the 1965 movie "La Decima Vittima" - "The 10th Victim", click here.

The rules of the Big Hunt are explained in this movie clip:

Piero Piccioni composed the soundtrack for the this movie.

To listen to the soundtrack of the 1965 movie "La Decima Vittima" - "The 10th Victim", click here.

Robert Sheckley wrote the novel based upon the movie which was a revised version of the original short story from 1953.

"The 10th Victim"

The cover of the novel included the crosshair symbol which the Zodiac would later use.

The 10th Victim symbolZodiac symbol

"The Hunt" Game

After the movie "La Decima Vittima" - "The 10th Victim" was released in the United States, a game became popular on college campuses in 1966.

The game was based upon this movie.

The game was called "The Hunt" and the rules were similar to the rules which were presented in the movie.

The college students playing the game would take turns in either the role of "Hunter" or "Victim".

As in the movie, each Hunter would devise elaborate methods to kill each Victim.

Someone in the role of the "Director" would evaluate the method used to kill each Victim.

Each Hunter earned one point for each successful "kill" and two points for each elaborate "kill".

Each Hunter would lose points if it happened that the Hunter was killed by other players.

Similar to the movie, the winning player needed to achieve a total of ten points.

According to an article in Time magazine, "Games: Homicide on the Campus", dated May 13, 1966, the game was played by students and faculty at Oberlin College, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and other colleges.

It is possible that the individual who later became known as the Zodiac read this particular Time magazine article in 1966.

To read the Time magazine article, "Games: Homicide on the Campus", click here.,9171,835511,00.html

This article referred to an unnamed student who, as a Victim in the game, received a message from another unnamed student sometime before May of 1966.

As a trick, the message was supposedly from the Bursar�s Office at the University of Chicago.

However, at the end of the message, it was revealed that a Hunter had actually sent the message and the message itself was the murder weapon because the paper had been poisoned.

In this message, the Hunter specifically wrote, "This is your hunter speaking. You are now dead."

Later, beginning in the message received by the San Francisco Examiner on August 4, 1969, the Zodiac used the similar wording "This is the Zodiac speaking."

Dear Editor This is the Zodiac speaking.

The Zodiac kept score of victims similar to how the Hunters in the game would keep score of their Victims.

Therefore, it is possible that the individual who later became known as the Zodiac played this particular game.

Project MK-ZODIAC considers this evidence which indicates that the Zodiac could have been either a student or a teacher at a college in 1966.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Free Press, "Party Games for Twelve" by Jerry Hopkins dated May 27, 1966, a variation of this game evidently was played at parties in Southern California in 1966.

In November of 1966, there was a message sent by an anonymous person who some researchers have reason to think was the individual who later became known as the Zodiac.

The message was received after the murder of Cheri Jo Bates and was titled "THE CONFESSION".

The message described the method in which Cheri Jo Bates was murdered and included a specific reference to a game.



This is evidence that the murderer of Cheri Jo Bates had decided to play the "The Hunt" game in real life.

* * *

Additional Notes

It happens that there was a suspect in the Zodiac case who was named "Hunter". Harry V. Martin, the publisher of the Napa Sentinel, wrote about this suspect (Robert E. Hunter).

* * *

The game is still played and has evolved over the years since 1966 and is now known as "Assassin".

If anyone reads this report who played "The Hunt" game circa 1966, Project MK-ZODIAC would like more information. Please email

* * *


The "Murder" Game Played by Harpo Marx

According to the 1961 book "Harpo Speaks!" by Harpo Marx (with Rowland Barber), there was a similar parlor game called "Murder" which was played circa 1920.

This game was played between cocktail time and dinner.

In this game, one of the players would be chosen to play the secret role of the "Murderer" who would choose a "Victim".

Privately, the Murderer would say "You are Dead!" to the Victim.

The Victim was required to pretend to be dead for the rest of the game.

When the Victim was eventually discovered, another player who had been chosen to act in the role of the "District Attorney" would be challenged to find out who was the Murderer.

The District Attorney would question the players to detect which one was the Murderer.

In the anecdote in this book, Harpo Marx was chosen to be the Murderer.

In a variation of the usual rules of this game, Harpo Marx wrote a note in lipstick on toilet paper to kill the Victim (Alice Miller).

The note was misspelled as "YOU ARE DED".

Because it was known that Harpo Marx did not spell words correctly, the District Attorney (Alek Woollcott) was able to figure out that Harpo Marx was the Murderer.

Researchers of the Zodiac case may ponder whether or not the individual who later became known as the Zodiac read this book by Harpo Marx which was published in 1961.

On the Halloween card postmarked October 27, 1970, which was sent to Paul Avery at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Zodiac wrote "YOU ARE DOOMED!" which is reminiscent of the Murderer�s words in this game.


Project MK-ZODIAC considers it possible that the unnamed student at the University of Chicago who wrote the message in 1966, "This is your hunter speaking. You are now dead.", read this 1961 book by Harpo Marx.

This specific anecdote could have been the inspiration for the unnamed student to concoct the message which, as an embellishment to fit "The Hunt" game, imagined that the paper had been poisoned as the method of killing the Victim.

* * *


The Murder of Valerie Percy

AK Wilks (who is a moderator at the internet forum has theorized that the murder of Valerie Percy at her home at Kenilworth, Illinois, on September 18, 1966, may have been committed by the individual who later became known as the Zodiac.

Project MK-ZODIAC considers this another idea to explore in view of the fact that "The Hunt" game was being played at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and other colleges in 1966.

Keniworth is north of Chicago and someone could have driven from either the Illinois Institute of Technology or the University of Chicago to Kenilworth in about an hour.

Percy, who was 21 years old, was the daughter of Charles H. Percy, who was the Republican nominee for Senator (who won the election later that year).

Percy was beaten and stabbed in her bedroom while other family members were in the house.

The mother of Percy heard the noise and went to check on her daughter.

The mother could not see the face of the killer because he used a flashlight which obscured her vision.

The killer escaped as the mother screamed.

Kenilworth Police Chief Robert M. Daley and Cook County Coroner Andrew Toman conjectured that the murder had been planned in advance.

Perhaps Percy was another victim in the game which was no longer solely a fantasy.

According to an article in Time Magazine, "Beyond Grief", dated September 30, 1966, unidentified fingerprints were found at the crime scene where Valerie Percy was killed.

Project MK-ZODIAC would like to have these fingerprints compared with the fingerprints from the Zodiac case.

To read the TIME magazine article, "Beyond Grief", click here.,9171,836428,00.html

Prior to the murder of Valerie Percy, on June 30, 1966, [first name withheld] Bubes was attacked at her home at Evanston, Illinois.

Bubes was 19 years old.

She was hit on the head and she screamed. The intruder escaped.

She was able to provide a description of the suspect.

After the murder of Percy on September 18, 1966, the police circulated the sketch of the suspect in the incident on June 30, 1966, who they thought might have been the same person who killed Percy. (Evanston is near Kenilworth.)

sketch of suspect 06-30-66

There were other unsolved murders in the Midwest region circa 1966 which may or may not be connected to the murder of Valerie Percy.

AK Wilks has also examined the murders of Jerome "Jerry" Bricca, Linda "Lynn" Jane Bricca, and Debbie Bricca who were stabbed to death at their home at Cincinnati, Ohio, sometime between September 25 and September 27 of 1966.

Jerome "Jerry" Bricca was a chemical engineer and Linda "Lynn" Jane Bricca was a flight attendant.

Jerome "Jerry" Bricca was 28 years old, Linda "Lynn" Jane Bricca was 24 years old, and Debbie Bricca was 4 years old.

At the time Hamilton County Police Lieutenant Herbert Vogel investigated the possibility that the Bricca family had been killed by the same person who killed Valerie Percy about a week before.

It has never been confirmed whether or not Linda "Lynn" Jane Bricca had ever met Valerie Percy.

* * *

Additional Notes

It happens that one of the persons who has been named as a possible suspect in the Zodiac case has a connection to one of the colleges where "The Hunt" game was known to have been played. Theodore Kaczynski attended a summer course at the University of Chicago in 1957.

However, the 1965 movie "La Decima Vittima" - "The 10th Victim" was the direct inspiration for the 1966 version of the game which was known as "The Hunt", so Theodore Kaczynski could not have played this game in 1957.

If there is any other known suspect in the Zodiac case who may be connected to "The Hunt" game, Project MK-ZODIAC would like more information. Please email

* * *


The Murder of Robert Warren Spike

Specifically as concerns "The Hunt" game, there was an unsolved murder which has a direct connection with the University of Chicago.

Robert Warren Spike was bludgeoned to death at the United Christian Center at Columbus, Ohio on October 17, 1966, the day after he had dedicated the building.

Spike was 42 years old.

Spike, a civil rights and religious leader, was the Professor of Ministry and Doctor of the Ministry Program at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

On December 8, 1966, a burglar was arrested for the murder of Spike.

This suspect had been committed for mental illness at the Columbus State Hospital from September 9, 1964, to May 26, 1966.

This suspect confessed to robbing churches in Columbus.

While being interrogated, this suspect also confessed to the murder of Spike.

Later, the suspect recanted the confession and said that he was at Washington, D.C. when Spike was murdered.

On October 4, 1967, Prosecuor C. Howard Johnson announced that the murder charge would be dismissed.

Previously, the police discovered two unidentified fingerprints at the location of the murder of Spike.

Project MK-ZODIAC would like to have these fingerprints compared with fingerprints from other murders.

There was another murder that investigators thought might have been connected to the murder of Spike.

Loren E. Bollinger was murdered at Ohio State University on May 23, 1966.

Bollinger was 40 years old.

Bollinger was an assistant professr in the Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Ohio State University.

Bollinger specialized in research regarding rockets and nuclear devices

The Columbia Evening Dispatch featured a column by Bollinger called "Man and Missiles".

Bollinger was shot in the head at an office building where he was planning to work at Columbus.

The police were able to verify that Bollinger had been shot with a .25 caliber pistol made outside of the United States.

The ballistics tests indicated that the same weapon had been used in separate incidents in 1965 to murder two other people, Chester Joseph Scowden and Claude Quesenberry.

Scowden was 19 years old and Quesenberry was 41 years old.

Scowden worked at a gasoline station at Columbus and Quesenberry worked at a gasoline station at West Jefferson (near Columbus).

Similar to how Bollinger was murdered, both Scowden and Quesenberry had been shot in the head.

The police thought that robbery had been the motive for these murders.

Raymond Sigler was shot by the same unknown person and survived.

Because Sigler was shot in the back of his head (the same as the other victims), there was no description of the assailant.

* * *

Additional Notes

Regarding the unsolved murders in the Ohio area, there was someone who has been considered as a possible suspect in the Zodiac case who was connected to the Ohio area.

His body was found at Eastlake, Ohio, on July 30, 2002. It was evident that he had shot himself. The person used the name "Joseph Newton Chandler III"; however, upon further investigation, it was discovered that his true identity was unknown.

Steve Huff, Mike Rodelli, Chris Yarbrough, and other researchers have explored various theories regarding this person.

The 2008 book, "The Serial Killer�s Apprentice and 12 Other True Stories of Cleveland�s Most Intriguing Unsolved Crimes" by James Renner includes a chapter about this possible suspect.

If there is any other known suspect in the Zodiac case who may be connected to the Ohio area, Project MK-ZODIAC would like more information. Please email

In addition to "The Hunt" game,
there was another game that the Zodiac played.
To read about the Zodiac�s word game,
click here.

To return to the message to the Zodiac, click here.


An Investigation of the Zodiac Killer

by Ricardo Eugirtni Gomez

Please be aware that sections from the Preliminary Report on Project MK-ZODIAC are available only on this website.

Those who would like to refer to any information in this report may provide a brief description and a specific link to this website

Nevertheless, any excerpt of this report may not be copied on any other website or printed in any publication without prior written consent according to the law.

If you have any question or comment about Project MK-ZODIAC,
please email Copyright � 2008-2018

My name is... cipher