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An Experiment with the Zodiac Killer

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The Portrait  On October 11, 1969, at 9:55 PM, a yellow taxi driven by 29-year old part-time journalist, part-time cabbie Paul Stine stopped near the corner of San Francisco’s Washington and Cherry Street. The passenger, the man who had named himself the Zodiac, shot Stine in the head, killing him instantly. Minutes later and a few hundred yards away, an 8-year old witness saw the man and recognized his face – or so he thought. The young witness identified the man as X., a 38-year old local who often went by a shortened version of his full first name. He shared it with a famed playwright, philosopher and militarist, whose best-known work would later inspire a novel, and, subsequently, a legendary film. The information about X., who had been checked and investigated by law enforcement back in the day, resurfaced on the Internet decades later. The document that contained his full name was published online by Zodiac researcher Alex Lewis, and t

The Sverdlovsk Event

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In April 1979, a sudden outbreak of a deadly disease hit a large city located 1400 kilometers east of Moscow. Today, the city is called Yekaterinburg; back then, it was known as Sverdlovsk. Hundreds of people and unknown numbers of pets and livestock were collapsing of fatigue, fever and shortness of breath. The black lesions that began appearing on their skin identified the illness even before the doctors confirmed it: it was anthrax. TASS, Russia’s chief news agency, reported the outbreak in a terse note which identified the reasons: tainted food sold in a local market illegally, without veterinarian approval, and, of course, taxing. Criminally amoral dealers had fed people meat from illegally butchered animals – most likely sheep, the press added – that were infected with anthrax, or possibly had even died of it. A quarantine was announced and a swift campaign of eliminating the danger began: road blocks manned by the Red Army were put around the cit