Monday, September 7, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 8: Lecktor authored the top part of the tissue note

CATEGORY: MOVIES     [Hidden plot related]

Recall from earlier in the analysis, that uncertainty has been raised over whether it was the Tooth Fairy himself who wrote the entire toilet tissue note; for as explained, Beverly Katz was in error when she claimed that the hair found on the note was a definite match for the killer's hair. In fact, there is something in the movie which effectively disproves that the Tooth Fairy wrote all of the note: Recall that whoever wrote the upper portion of the note (the note had been torn into two pieces when the investigators obtained it), used the epithet "Tooth Fairy" in it; but, how could Dollarhyde have known that he was being referred to by that specific name at the time that the note was written? Recall that in the lecture given to the police in Atlanta, it was made evident to us that the name "Tooth Fairy" was being used only within the Atlanta police department - the officers' supervisor told them not to use the name in public or in any internal memoranda. Therefore, the press could not have found out about the name from the police, nor would they have found this out from any of the FBI investigators, who have not been interacting with the press. The point is that the press was unaware of the name "Tooth Fairy" at the time the note was written, so Dollarhyde himself had no way of knowing that he was being called by that name.

What actually happened was that Hannibal Lecktor himself authored the top portion of the note, after receiving Dollarhyde's original note and then cutting off the bottom portion of it. This portion contained teeth marks made by Dollarhyde using a set of false teeth, a small amount of writing, and was signed "Avid Fan." Lecktor disposed of the original top portion by flushing it down his cell toilet. He then composed his own top portion using a pen he had in his cell; the pen can be seen in a styrofoam cup on a shelf in his cell, while Graham is interviewing him (see left-hand screencap below). Lecktor must have known about the name "Tooth Fairy" from reading the case file Graham handed him during their meeting - Graham had written it there, after having heard it used in the police lecture.

Above left: A pen and scissors in Lecktor's cell. Above right: Lecktor can be seen closing a book quickly when he hears a guard approaching his cell. Note the blue object in his right hand (click image to enlarge) - this is the felt pen Lecktor later used to scratch out part of the note (as described below).

At one point after his meeting with Graham, Lecktor was shown quickly closing a book when he heard a guard bringing him a phone he requested (see above right screencap). It must be the case that he was here placing the tissue note in the book. He began writing his part of the note almost as soon as Graham left, and then called for the phone in order to get Will's home address. It was at this point that he hoped the guard would see him 'hiding' the note, and then bring it to Dr. Chilton - recall that this was how the note was eventually discovered: A guard saw Lecktor putting something in a book when prison staff came to do a cleaning of his cell. Lecktor 'combined' his own top portion with the original bottom part of the note, and it was these that the prison personnel found. Lecktor 'staged' things so that the note would be found; the guard who had earlier brought him the phone, simply did not notice him 'hiding' the combined note.

Hannibal was very ingenious in his preparation of the note: He first went over part of Dollarhyde's original note with a felt marker, then he cut the note (along the bottom of this marked portion) into two pieces using the scissors in his cell; then, he kept the bottom part of the note, flushing the rest down his cell toilet, as stated above. He then composed his own top portion, including the word "tattler" at the bottom of his part of the note. Next, he marked over the bottom portion of his part of the note, with the marked-over portion including the line on which "tattler" was written. Then, using scissors, he cut his part of the note along this line, making it look like it had been somewhat haphazardly torn, and such that the investigators would later find the top part of the word 'tattler' where Lecktor's part of the note had been cut. The plan was for the investigators to assume that both portions of the note were composed by Dollarhyde, as one note, and that Lectkor marked over a portion of this note, then decided to tear out this portion instead and throw it away. The investigators assumed that this missing portion of the note contained Dollarhyde's instructions to Lecktor on how to respond to the note, i.e., through the National Tattler (in the 'personals' section of the paper). This was exactly what Lecktor intended for the investigators to conclude, because what he planned to do was to compose a 'response' to the note designed to manipulate Graham into committing murder. This will be discussed in detail in subsequent posts in the analysis.

Left: The felt pen Lecktor used to mark out the section of the note that he later cut out, is the blue object sitting on the top of the book. As stated above, when Lecktor cut the note with scissors, he did it carefully, making it look like it had been torn.

Above left and right: Lecktor not only used the felt pen to go over part of the tissue note text, but he also used the pocket clip on its cap to pry off the face of the phone the guard brought him, so that he could get to the phone's electrical internals in order to connect with an AT&T operator (by using the metallic foil coating of the inner sleeve of a gum wrapper, to connect two electrical terminals inside the phone).


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