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Galen Cook Images

Tonight's first hour guest, Galen Cook, sent us images and analysis of the letters allegedly sent by D.B. Cooper after his infamous heist. He tells us, "My research shows that four D.B. Cooper letters all surfaced within one week after America's most celebrated, unsolved air hijacking. All four letters were sent to major newspapers, not to the FBI. The sequence and timing of the letters is very important, as they show the "escape route" of D.B. Cooper. They also show a "connection" to our suspect, Bill Gossett."


Letter #1 -- It was sent out from Oakdale, CA on Saturday, November 27, 1971. It reached the Reno Evening Gazette on Monday, November 29, 1971 and was immediately published on page 1 of that evening edition. It reads, "Attention! Thanks for the Hospitality. Was in a rut. D.B. Cooper." It was a cut and paste letter.

It was determined within two days that the letter's words and phrases came from the Friday, November 26, 1971 edition of the Modesto Bee newspaper. Bill Gossett lived in Merced, CA for many years prior to 1971 and his first family was eating T-Giving dinner in Merced the night after Cooper hijacked Northwest Airlines Flight #305. Merced is about 20 miles from Oakdale, CA. The FBI took possession of this letter and it has never been seen since.


Letter #2 -- It was handprinted and mailed from Vancouver, BC Canada to the Vancouver Province editor's office. The Province published the letter on Wednesday, December 1, 1971, but the postage date was Tuesday, November 30, 1971. The letter was taken by the Vancouver Police Department and never seen again."The composite drawing on Page 3 as suspected by FBI does not represent the truth. I enjoyed the Grey Cup game. Am leaving Vancouver now. Thanks for your hospitality. D.B. Cooper"

The Grey Cup game is the Canadian's version of the Superbowl and was played on Sunday, November 28, 1971 in Vancouver. The hijacker first saw the FBI's sketch of himself in the Monday, November 29, 1971 newspaper, and apparently didn't like the drawing by the FBI. The words, "thanks for the hospitality" appeared again in a letter that was sent in Vancouver, BC, a long ways from Reno, Nevada. This is the same author of both letters, a man on the run and taunting the FBI. Gossett liked football, he liked Canada, and he used the phrase "thanks for your hospitality" often.


Letter #3 -- This letter was sent to the Portland Oregonian, however, that paper never published the letter or even discussed the letter in their newspaper. In fact, the Oregonian editors even denied the existence of the letter as did the FBI. The letter did exist and was a cut and paste letter that was mailed to the newspaper from somewhere in Portland with a cancellation date stamped Wednesday, December 1, 1971. The whereabouts of this letter are unknown (although I have seen the envelope to this letter). The letter reads, "Am alive and doing well in home town P.O. The system that beats the system. D.B. Cooper."

My analysis: The letter writer is going back to the original scene of the crime, Portland, and will now thoroughly confuse his pursuers - the FBI. I recently received mysterious e-mails from a person named "Al." He is helping me analyze the Oregonian letter and he claims that this letter was cut from the June and July 1970 issues of Playboy magazine. He used a special "colorization" process to support this assertion. It is one that I examined closely, and he is right. The phrase, "the system that beats the system" was taken from an advertisement in Playboy concerning a particular stereo system manufacturer.

"Al" won't reveal his true identity to me, but I've often wondered if he is a retired FBI agent from the Portland area. And, my research shows that Playboy and its publisher, Hugh Hefner, were the target of a huge FBI file. J. Edgar Hoover thought that Hefner and Playboy were subversive to the American lifestyle and needed to be investigated. Maybe D. B. cooper knew something about this. Gossett was a HUGE fan of Playboy and subscribed for years.


Letter #4 -- This was the last letter and sent again to the Reno Evening Gazette. It was not published, but the newspaper did make mention of it in their Friday, December 3, 1971 edition. It was cut and paste: "Plan ahead for retirement income. D.B. Cooper." The whereabouts of this letter are unknown, but I've heard the FBI took possession of it.

Analysis of all letters: D.B. Cooper got away unscathed on the night of Wednesday, November 24, 1971 and proceeded down to California while his pursuers were looking for him about 35 miles to the north of his actual parachute landing zone. He sent the first letter to let the world know that he was alive. Next, he traveled to Canada with the money and wrote again. I think he took the bus. He left Canada (by bus) and cruised back down to Portland to wave at the FBI who was looking for him 35 miles to the north of Portland. He mailed #3 from the Portland area to further confuse law enforcement. At this point, he's having too much fun. Then he went back down towards Sacramento, CA and sent the final letter, letting everyone know that he was now set for retirement. Gossett would have returned back to the Salt Lake City area and not have sent out any letters from there for fear of being caught.

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