Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

The Legend of the Zodiac Shack

Informant: The informant is Briana, a nineteen-year-old freshman at the University of Southern California. She grew up in Vacaville, California, in the Bay Area, and has lived there for her entire life, until she moved to Los Angeles for college. She is of African descent.

Context of the performance: This performance was done while we were sitting on the grass outside of my dorm building on USC’s campus.

Original Script:

Informant: There’s a legend of a shack out far in the country of my hometown, Vacaville, California. So there’s this little abandoned shack or storage unit, where the Zodiac killer would take and murder his victims. The Zodiac killer, who came up with his title himself, goes murdered multiple women and couples. My friend, April C., told me about this legend in Vacaville. April had visited the shack before, and a lot of people do, for the excitement of exploring the scene. High school students tend to go to the shack most, once they learn to drive, because it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Interviewer: Why do you like this piece?

Informant: I like this piece because it’s connected to my hometown and an interesting story to tell visitors. My family and friends from home and I like this piece because even though we don’t believe it to be true, it’s something exciting for a small town to have. We can get together and visit the site at any time of the year, mainly at night.

Personal Thoughts: I found this piece to be very interesting because I had never heard of the Zodiac Killer and assumed he was created by Vacaville. After Briana shared her town’s side of the legend, I looked into the Zodiac Killer and was appalled yet fascinated by the results. In the late 1960s, he allegedly murdered at least five people and injured two, though he admitted to killing thirty, in the San Francisco Bay Area. After his murders, he would taunt the police and members of the community, providing hints as to who he was, including a three-part cipher, letters, phone calls, and fingerprints. Yet, the police could not solve the case. Perhaps the townspeople in Vacaville came up with the idea that the legend that the Zodiac Killer took his victims to this shack because they felt lost without answers as to his identity. Therefore, they may have used this story for a sense of comfort and relief, so that they could feel that they know some information about him and his whereabouts. For more information, visit http://www.zodiackiller.com/.

 

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