Black Dahlia Avenger "Proof Sheet Paper" – Another Forensic Link


“Among the anonymous notes sent police in the ‘Black Dahlia’ case,” said Donahoe, “there was one which was obviously prepared in a print shop. At the time we discounted its importance. Now, however, it may take on new significance.”

                                                      Captain Jack Donahoe LAPD Homicide                                                                Los Angeles Times, Feb 17, 1947


Black Dahlia Avenger mailed notes to police and newspapers using “proof sheet paper” an unusual stock of paper primarily found in print shops.  

BDA proofsheet papers.jpg


 In 1925, George Hodel, as editor of his own literary magazine, “Fantasia,” used his own printing press to reproduce and distribute copies of his magazine. From 1945-1950 this printing press along with reams of “proof sheet paper” was stored in the basement of the Franklin House. In the late 1940s this same printing press along with the proof sheet paper was used to reproduce George Hodel’s sales brochure in marketing the sale of the Franklin House. The proof sheet paper was frequently used by my brothers and me to make our childhood drawings. My father kept several of my original drawings (I was then 7-years-old) and after saving them for over 45-years, returned them to me circa 1995, after his permanent relocation to San Francisco. 

In 2001, after two-years of full time investigation I came to realize that these original proof sheet papers could well be important forensic evidence, potentially directly linking the stock proof sheet papers mailed in by the Dahlia killer to these original papers now in my possession. I was confident that a spectrographic comparison of the size, texture and fiber content, could establish and link them as coming from the same unusual stock. (In my 2003 post-publication briefing to LAPD “brass” this was one of the first forensic comparisons I suggested be made. (Both I and the senior staff officers were unaware at that time that “all the Dahlia evidence including all the original Avenger mailings had disappeared from the locked evidence room.”)

Below are my child drawings on proof sheet paper from the basement of the Franklin House. All of the hand printing on the drawings, including: “Chinese Chicken and “Little Me” were written by my father, George Hodel and would become an important forensic exhibit in linking his 1949 handwriting to that of the 1947 samples from the, “Black Dahlia Avenger.”


franklin proof sheet paper.jpg


1920s hand printing press similar to one in basement of Franklin Househacker4.jpg

 1950 “SHANGRI-LA sales brochure printed on George Hodel’s home printing press using proof sheet paper.


“For Sale: SHANGRI-LA in Los Angeles”

franklin sales brochure.jpg 

 Black Dahlia, Red Lipstick & other witness/victims attend 1947  Live Show Up

Based on an in-custody murder suspect’s physical description (Otto Parzyjegia) and the fact that he had slain and dismembered his employer and was connected to “proof sheet papers” as a linotype operator at a print shop, LAPD Captain Jack Donahoe ordered a live-show-up be conducted on Feb. 19, 1947. Attending this show-up were witnesses from the Elizabeth Short, Black Dahlia murder, the Jeanne French, Red Lipstick Murder, and additional females victim’s who had been kidnapped, assaulted and raped by the “Avenger”, but had survived. (Several of these witnesses were named in BDA::Sylvia Horan, Ica M’Grew, Christine Studnicka, and Toni Manalatos. All witnesses attending the Otto Parzyjeglia show-up eliminated him as being the man they saw connected to the separate crimes.

LAPD forensic criminalist, Ray Pinker compared samples of the proof sheet paper mailed in by the Black Dahlia Avenger to samples obtained from the printing shop where  Otto Parzyjeglia worked and found they were from different proof sheet stocks.


Excerpt from newspaper account of Otto Parzyjegla arrest in 1947:

Los Angeles Times- Feb 17, 1947

Publisher Slain, Body Mutilated; Police Report Employee Confession

…The alleged killer in the latest of the city’s recent gruesome slayings is tall, blond Otto Parzyjegia, linotype operator, 415 W. Jefferson Blvd., who was arrested near the print shop as he returned to dispose of cartons containing Haij’s dismembered body.

Other Questioning Due

Capt. Jack Donahoe of the homicide detail said that Parzyjegla will be questioned about the recent mutilation murders of Mrs. Jeanne T. French, former nurse, and Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia.”


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