Sowden/Hodel 'Black Dahlia' Crime Scene Exorcised by Former Owner

In his just released book, SoulSpace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life, Xorin Balbes, former owner [2002-2011] of the Lloyd Wright designed Sowden/Hodel “Franklin House” has revealed shortly after purchasing the home and moving in [2002] he sensed a dark and evil presence which seemed to be located only in one section of the home–in the room just off the east corridor. [In 1947 the room described by Xorin would have been George Hodel’s Master Bedroom.]

It should be noted that Xorin’s experiences psychic or otherwise, preceded the publication of my book by about one-year. At that time there was no information connecting George Hodel the Sowden House to the Black Dahlia or any other murders, nor was Xorin aware of Dr. Hodel’s arrest for incest, which he would not discover until reading my book two years later.

 Due to the negative energy Xorin sensed and felt in the home, he first hired a Native American Shaman and then an ordained priest to both exorcise his newly acquired residence to rid it of “the dark spirit.”  According to Xorin, IT WORKED! 

The forward to Xorin’s book was written by bestselling author, spiritual activist and lecturer, Marianne Williamson.

                 Photo credit:

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Xorin Balbes in the renovated courtyard of the Sowden/Franklin House circa 2007

Excerpts from SoulSpace by Xorin Balbes – pages 82-86:


            Over the months after I moved into this gorgeous home, despite all the changes I had made, something still felt off, and I could not figure out what it was.


“It feels heavy,” I said. “It feels wrong. It feels like I am stuck in quicksand, like something very bad is happening and I can’t stop it.”

            Then Black Dahlia Avenger was published; it was given to me by a friend who had read it and recognized that the house described was my house, Sowden House. …

            Steve Hodel opened my eyes to the kind of person that had been living in my home. He claims that his father killed not only Elizabeth Short but also other women, and that Short was killed in Sowden House. The book talks about the possible murders committed by Dr. Hodel and details the abuse he heaped on his own family in the house, sexual and otherwise, such as allowing his young daughter to be sexually abused by a number of prominent figures during parties at the estate.

            I was shocked and I was horrified, but I also had a new understanding about why that corridor and room felt so disturbing to me—that was where the abuse had happened. It was clear that my space needed a thorough CLEANSE so that I could reconnect with it. And it wasn’t about bleach and elbow grease–it was about something much more intangible, whether you call it bad energy, spirits, or mojo.


            I hired a Native American shaman to heal the space and clear the energy. He performed ceremonies and clearings to release the energy that seemed to be stuck in the space. He took out his sage and incense and lit them on fire, chanting as he walked, singing his songs to gently assist the spirit that was lingering in the house.


          On a certain level it felt strange, and yet it also felt very comforting…Energy exists on many levels, and I was willing to do anything I could to clear this space.


            I was determined to make sure that Sowden House would be free of its past so that I could live my life there without being haunted by someone else’s unfinished business, so I also hired a priest to perform an exorcism. He came in with holy water and a Bible, and wandered throughout, sprinkling the water and reciting prayers as if he was speaking directly to the dark spirit.


            Whatever they did, it worked. The next time I walked into the room with the aquarium, I was able to sit back in the comfortably designed seats and watch the fish swim slowly behind the glass, peaceful and serene.

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2011 Los Angeles Times article featuring the Sowden/Franklin House


Amazon Bio on Xorin Balbes

Xorin Balbes is an award-winning architectural conservator, designer, philanthropist, and co-owner of the interior and architectural design firm SoulSpace Home. His most recent project is the transformation of the Fred Baldwin Memorial Home on Maui into SoulSpace Sanctuary, a rejuvenation destination with twenty-eight ocean-view bedrooms and a farm-to-table restaurant. Xorin divides his time between Los Angeles and Maui.



  1. Steve Lamb on October 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Too bad he didn’t exorcise the architect/designer who he hired who destroyed the authentic Lloyd Wright interior floorplan and details…

  2. Steve Hodel on October 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    SL: I have to agree. It is a completely different home now. Magic all gone. Maybe with your background Steve you can start the new campaign with a bummer bumper sticker something like: “Exorcise our Wrights”?? *s*

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