december 1968

  • someone: my zodiac -
  • me: the zodiac killer was a serial killer who operated in northern california in the late 1960s and early 1970s. the killer's identity remains unknown. the zodiac murdered victims in benicia, vallejo, lake berryessa, and san francisco between december 1968 and october 1969. four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. the killer originated the name "zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local bay area press. these letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.

On 17 December, 1968, 20-year-old Barbara Mackle was at a Decatur, Georgia, hotel with her mother, Jane. She had been suffering from influenza, as was most pupils from the Emory University. Her mother had picked her up and taken her to a hotel to get over the sickness.

During the evening, Gary Stephen Krist knocked on the hotel door, claiming that Barbara’s boyfriend had been in a road traffic accident. As the women let him him, Krist and his accomplice, Ruth Eisemann-Schier, dragged the two women to the ground and placed a chloroform-soaked rag over their faces. The duo then bound and gagged Jane before bundling Barbara into their car. They drove Barbara to a remote area in Gwinnett County where there was a pre-dug trench. Inside the trench was a fibreglass-reinforced box fitted with an air pump, a lamp and water and food laced with sedatives. Barbara was forced into the box.

Gary and Ruth demanded a $500,000 ransom from Barbara’s father, who was a wealthy land developer. The ransom drop was arranged, however two policemen driving by spooked the duo, leading them to flee on foot.  When their car was searched, the found a photograph of Barbara inside the box, holding a sign which read “Kidnapped.” A second ransom drop was arranged and Ruth called the police, giving directions to where they could find Barbara. After spending three days trapped underground, Barbara was rescued.

Both Gary and Ruth were soon apprehended, with Ruth being the first women to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. Ruth was paroled after four years while Gary was paroled after ten years. 

Herbert Read (4 December 1893 – 12 June 1968) 

English art historian, poet, literary critic and philosopher, best known for numerous books on art, which included influential volumes on the role of art in education. Read was co-founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Title page detail from Poetry and Anarchism by Herbert Read. London: Freedom Press, 1941.

Miss Pamela singing at the Shrine Auditorium, December 1968.