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The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia Murder

Discovered January 15, 1947

The murder of Elizabeth Short has intrigued, mystified, even disgusted the city of Los Angeles for more than half a centruy.

Elizabeth Short, a 22-year-old wannabe actress (spec), spent several years moving around, gaining odd jobs. Her passion for servicemen and aspiration to be famous made her a "different" woman of her time. She reportedly hooked up with a variety of men and women (one reported to having been Marilyn Monroe).

Her name evolved from her black hair and black attire. Some say she was named the Black Dahlia before her murder in January of 1947, others say the name was applied by journalists to sensationalize the crime.



On January 15, 1947, a passerby spotted her nude body in a vacant lot near Hollywood. Her body, cut in half, was bruised and beaten. Grass had reportedly been forced into her vagina, and she had reportedly been sodomized after death. Rumors of henna in her hair and BD carved into her body, as of yet to this outlet, have not been verified.



Upon the release of the news of the murder in the press, several men and women admitted to the crime. But the police could not validate anyone's story (author John Gilmore says the number lingers around 50 confessing sams). The case, notoriously, attracted several false confessions, and later surfaced more interest when James Ellroy wrote The Black Dahlia, a work of fiction, yet inspired by the actual events, in 1987.

To date, according to the LAPD, the case goes unsolved. Yet many theories exist. And each year additional theories and musings arise.


Elizabeth Short in the Morgue...

While not as clear as many other photos I've run across, this one shot depicts probably the most gruesome image of Elizabeth Short. It's elements are disturbing and realistic. To think that even today, a body simply is placed on a metal table in a practically bare room.

For those with more of a stomach, you can view the face, upper torso, or lower torso at closer ranges.

    Graphic from Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder; Amok Books, Spring 1998, ISBN 1-878923-10-2, $14.95 U.S. Used by permission.

Just added: a facial morgue shot of Beth Short. Note: This image is graphic. If you are are subject to a weak stomach, or nightmares, it is recommended you do not view this image.

To view the image, click here.


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The Black Dahlia Web Site is Pamela Hazelton. All Rights Reserved. Last update: February 13, 2009.