I trust you’ve heard of the International Star Registry, which offers customers the chance to name a star after someone for as little as $54? Never mind that the registrations aren’t recognized by the scientific community. That’s irrelevant for the purposes of this column, as is the fact that the founders of International Star Registry (est. 1979) have created an enviable business, selling an inexhaustible supply of real estate that no one can visit—or complain about.
I mention the Star Registry because one of the most curious tidbits revealed in Steve Hodel’s new book “Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel” (Dutton), is that in 1990 the author’s father, George Hill, registered a star in his own name in the Zodiacal constellation Aquila. What makes this notable is that in the book, Steve alleges that his father was the Zodiac killer, which would make the registration a “heavenly memorial to his crimes,” about which “my father must have chuckled to himself,” writes his son.
In comparison to all the other evidence that Steve presents supporting his argument, the star registration is a mere footnote—more symbolic than anything else. But if George Hill was in fact Zodiac, the star—known as Dr. George Hill Hodel, and found by pointing a telescope at constellation Aquila and aligning the sight to RA 19hrs 56mins 53secs at delineation 8’16 mins—serves as “an immortal mocking of humanity” … “shining its sardonic, dark light on us” forever, writes Steve.
As to whether George Hill was Zodiac—as well as the Lipstick Killer (Chicago) and the Jigsaw Murderer (Manila), not to mention the Black Dahlia Killer—as his son asserts, that’s for the reader to decide. At the very least, “Most Evil” is a “bizarre … and surreal story,” teases the author in the introduction, “one that if true, would alter criminal history, exonerate the innocent, and change the way we think about the motives and signatures of serial killers.”