The Black Dahlia Avenger’s – “Soft Sly Voice”
“I believe he is an egomaniac who deliberately planned the murder to prove to himself that he was a superman who could outwit and outthink the whole world… He would be one against the world, the perpetrator of the perfect crime… I am convinced that his mad ego will cause him to commit another crime and in the same manner….Every time I put the receiver to my ear I hope that I will hear that same soft sly voice that I heard that day that I talked with the killer of the Black Dahlia.”
James Richardson, City Editor, Los Angeles Examiner
James Richardson speaking with “Black Dahlia Avenger” Jan. 23, 1947
(Photo reenacted for his book cover, For the Life of Me: Memoirs of a City Editor)
Voice of George Hill Hodel M.D. – “The Black Dahlia Avenger”
Here, presented for the first time publicly, are several samples of my father’s voice. Two of them were recorded in Manila, circa 1959, some twelve-years after the murder of Elizabeth Short. George is reading bedtime poems to my four half-brothers and sisters in Manila. (The children’s ages then ranged from approximately 3-8 years.) The piano heard in the background is being played by his then wife, Hortensia, who was an accomplished pianist.
George Hodel circa 1959 reading:
George Hodel circa 1959 reading:”
GHH Where GoThe Boats MPS final
This third sample below was recorded in San Francisco circa 1997. The “Avenger” is now 89 years-old and living with his wife June in their 39th floor penthouse suite on Bush Street, in the Financial District. IS THIS THE ZODIAC SPEAKING?
George Hodel circa 1997, San Francisco –
GHH SF 1997 mps.mp3
Additional samples of George Hodel’s speaking voice can be heard on the just posted YouTube video- (Click below)
“THE VOICE” – City Editor Richardson’s Conversation with the Killer-
From Black Dahlia Avenger, Chapter 12 – The LAPD and the Press: The Joint Investigation
On the afternoon of January 23, Los Angeles Examiner city editor James Richardson received a phone call from a man identifying himself as the Black Dahlia killer. In Richardson’s autobiography, For the Life of Me: Memoirs of a City Editor; he describes the eerie call and the killer’s follow-up. Richardson explained that he never published the story in the paper at the time because he wanted to keep the evidence confidential, even though there was a feeding frenzy among crime reporters for any stray piece of information on the case.
His revelation of the phone call became an important piece of evidence for me, primarily because of his verbatim description of his brief conversation with the killer and his impressions of the suspect. That this call came from the real killer is not in doubt. During their conversation he promised Richardson to send him “a few of her [Elizabeth’s] belongings.” As Richardson described the conversation:
The story dwindled to a few paragraphs and was about to fade out altogether when one day I answered the phone and heard the voice I’ll never forget.
“Is this the city editor?” it asked.
“What is your name, please?”
“Well, Mr. Richardson, I must congratulate you on what the Examiner has done in the Black Dahlia case.”
“Thank you,” I said, and there was a slight pause before the voice spoke again.
“You seem to have run out of material,” it said.
A soft laugh sounded in the earpiece.
“Maybe I can be of some assistance,” the voice said.
There was something in the way he said it that sent a shiver up my spine.
“We need it,” I said and there was that soft laugh again.
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” the voice said. “I’ll send you some of the things she had with her when she, shall we say, disappeared?”
It was difficult for me to control my voice. I began scribbling on a sheet of paper the words: “Trace this call.”
“What kind of things?” I asked as I tossed the paper to my assistant on the desk. I could see him read and start jiggling the receiver arm on his phone to get the attention of the switchboard girl.
“Oh say, her address book and her birth certificate and a few other things she had in her handbag.”
“When will I get them?” I asked, and I could hear my assistant telling Mae Northern the switchboard girl to trace my call.
“Oh, within the next day or so. See how far you can get with them. And now I must say goodbye. You may be trying to trace this call.”
“Wait a minute,” I said but I heard the click and the phone was dead.
Richard concluded his book with some observations and reflections about the caller/killer he had spoken with seven years earlier. He was, Richardson was convinced, an egomaniac who planned the murder to show the world he was a superman, someone who could “outwit and outthink the whole world.” He also stated–and again he was right–that the killer had placed the body where it would be quickly found, and mutilated it so horribly to attract the greatest attention on the part of the police and public. “He would be one against the world,” he wrote, “the perpetrator of the perfect crime.”
Richardson was also certain the killer would strike again, and in the same manner, but that ultimately he would make a mistake that would result in his capture. Richardson hoped that the Dahlia killer would again pick up the phone, dial the city desk and ask for him. He revealed that his switchboard operators had developed a sixth sense and screened the “nuts and crackpots,” but every now and then did put through a call to him, which invariably was important. He said he still believed that one day he would pick up the receiver and “again hear that soft, sly voice.”
THREE DAYS LATER-
City Editor Richardson receives Elizabeth Short’s personal belongings mailed by killer, “To the Los Angeles Examiner and Other L.A. Papers.”
Author’s Signed Copy of City Editor Richardson’s Memoirs
Early on in my investigation and research in 2000, I was fortunate to obtain a first edition, signed copy of James Richardson’s 1954 memoirs. The copy I found was exceptionally COOL as the Front Page, Old School editor had inscribed the book to the legendary film director, John Ford. Richardson’s inscription reads:
“For John Ford
Cagney says you like good reading.
So, here you are . And if thats boasting – make the most of it.
Best Wishes, J.H. Richardson
For The Life Of Me; Memoirs Of A City Editor RICHARDSON, James Hugh Putnam’s New York 1954