In this age of the Internet, where anything and everything has a chance to go viral, it’s never a surprise when something completely out of left field lights up social media. The same can be said for some of the goings ons of the 2016 Presidential race. When those two things combine, it makes for a completely absurd act of Internet virality. Such is the case with social media’s latest troll fodder: that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer.
The first instance of joke claiming Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer popped up in March 2013, when Twitter user Red Pill America tweeted about Cruz talking at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
In December 2015, a Facebook page was created entitled “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer.” Since then, from the beginning of January, up to this week, Facebook, and the Twitterverse have been going crazy over the claims that senator Cruz is the infamous killer who murdered at least seven people in the state of California between 1960 and 1970, and taunted police with cryptograms after the murders.
The hashtag #ZodiacTed trended in the U.S. in January, according to Esquire, and it began gaining steam again this week, especially among Twitter users Patrick Monahan (@PattyMo), Lindsey (@Lindzeta), and The Worm (@VRunt) and their followers, all of whom continue to use the hashtag, and wonder why Ted Cruz hasn’t yet denied the claims that he is the Zodiac Killer.
The meme is, of course, a joke (we hope), considering Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1970, the year the killings stopped, and even though the last authentic letter from the Zodiac came in 1974, Cruz would have only been 4-years-old at the time, making it nigh impossible for the Republican Presidential candidate to actually be the killer.
This truth, however, hasn’t stopped many from carrying on the joke, laying outlandish claims like time travel, and spirit possession, reports Esquire, in an interview with Monahan.
“Maybe the Zodiac Killer has some pull on him from beyond the grave, or maybe he’s sworn allegiance to carry on the work of the Zodiac. I’m just saying these things are out there. There’s an easy statement to put out there to put this all to rest.”
One has to wonder if Donald Trump will soon weigh in on the Ted Cruz as the Zodiac Killer conversation. He is prone to ridiculous conspiracy theories regarding those he deems a threat; let readers not forget the Obama “birther” smear campaign Trump started. The Donald could no doubt claim that Cruz had falsified his birth certificate. Perhaps, Ted wasn’t born in 1970, after all.
Some good has come out of the claims that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. According to SFGate, this week, another Twitter user, Kill Tim Faust (@Crulge) — a former professional photographer and general manager of an Austin wrestling league — teamed up with artist Rory Blank to design a shirt emblazoned with the words “Ted Cruz was the Zodiac Killer.” Proceeds from the shirt will be donated to the West Fund, a group based in Southwest Texas that provides abortion services, which Ted Cruz vehemently opposes.
Though the claims that Senator Cruz is the Zodiac Killer are extreme, and highly implausible — barring time travel, spirit possession, or copycat killing — they beg the questions why hasn’t Ted Cruz denied the accusations that he is the Zodiac Killer. Considering Cruz has so far gained enough support to win the Iowa Caucus on February 1, will the allegations that he is a serial killer hurt his presidential campaign?
Even Google is getting in on the trend. If you type “Is Ted Cruz” into the search engine, one of the top predictive searches is “the Zodiac Killer.” Surely the all-powerful Google can’t be wrong.
[Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images]