Friday, August 23,
promised, last night I provided the South Pasadena Library audience with
dramatic new physical evidence, further linking my father, Dr. George Hill
Hodel directly to the murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation, I back-grounded them on the original
crime, as documented in Black Dahlia
Avenger (1999-2005) and then gave an update which focused on many of the
new findings as published in, Black
Dahlia Avenger II (2006-2012).
half-hour focused on a quick review of all of the visual evidence in support of
George Hodel’s unique M.O. and murder-signature of MURDER AS A FINE ART as
presented in my previous publications, as well as information provided in Mark
Nelson and Sarah Bayliss Hudson’s 2006 publication, Exquistie Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder.
Too much to
try and summarize here, but in my talk I shared all of the close connections,
the one-degree-of-separations, and direct personal friendships my father had to
the prominent screenwriters, artists and surrealists living in 1940s Los
Angeles. These included: Surrealist artists, Man Ray, his wife, Juliet,
Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, William Copley, Edmund Teske, Ben Hecht, Rowland
Brown, Steve Fisher, and Gene Fowler. (Gene
Fowler’s son, Will Fowler, was a reporter at the original 1947 crime scene, and
in a later book claimed, “he and his photographer Felix Pagel were the first to
arrive and photograph the body prior to the arrival of the uniformed
officers.” Obviously, this would have
afforded Fowler access to obtain the original undoctored crime scene photos and to
share them within his own private circle of friends, including his father and
foundation to the new discovery I provided those in attendance and unfamiliar
with my investigation and writings, a brief summary of the most of the surrealist
montage shows just a few of the exhibits
used in my PowerPoint and discussed as linking to George Hodel’s murder
sketch was one of the first completed by Man Ray after arriving in Hollywood in
1940 from Paris. Man Ray would remain and reside in Hollywood for the next
decade, returning to Paris in 1951.
Man Ray Untitled Sketch -Hollywood 1940
providing the linkage and connections to these individuals and showing how the Murder as a Fine Art theme connected directly
to George Hodel, and his friends and their art; and how George Hodel
incorporated much of it into his “Black Dahlia Avenger” mailings to the press
and police–as signatures and taunts, I concluded my talk by offering–“the new
Here, it is:
of the puzzle
Those of you
who are regular readers of this blog will recall a recent blog I offered which
discussed the possibility that some of the carvings on the victim’s body could
possibly be a form of signature known as, “crosshatching.” (This intriguing
hypothesis was first offered by a reader, architect Steve Lamb. Steve was also
the same individual who had met and had the important conversation with
surrealist photographer, Edmund Teske as related in BDA II.)
Steve’s theory and doing a little research on the subject, I then wrote a blog
on May 13, 2013 asking the question: “Did
Dr. Hodel Sign his “Surreal Masterpiece” by Cutting an Artist’s Crosshatching
Marks into Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short’s Body Parts?” (See link to that blog.)
DAN “THE MAN”
LACKEY–A EUREKA MOMENT
While I greatly
appreciated Steve Lamb’s input and was convinced that my father was undoubtedly
“saying something” and leaving some kind of twisted “message”, I felt that “crosshatching,”
which appears to be more of a form of an artist’s shading, while a possibility,
was a little too “generic”, but still I felt it just might lead others to do
some further thinking–I posted the blog.
weeks later, on July 5, 2013, I received the below short e-mail from one of my
regular readers, Dan Lackey. Dan is fifty-one, an electrical engineer for a
local utility company in his hometown of Hernando, Mississippi. He is married,
enjoys internet research, history and music. From prior communications, I was aware that Dan had read all three of my
books on the subject and possessed a detailed knowledge of all aspects of my
investigation, so when he spoke–I listened. Dan’s discovery, as reported in his e-mail to
me, was his and my–EUREKA MOMENT.
July 5, 2013
was looking at Man Ray’s website and came across a drawing titled L’e’quivoque 1943.
drawing shows a nude woman, (no surprise there). To the right of the
figure, it appears that there is another arm, other than the figures arm.
Instead of a head, there is some unexplained mass of what appears to be
reddish colored wood. Near the center of that mass there is what looks like a
yellow shield. Inside the yellow shield is a crosshatch pattern, very
prominently displayed. Just like the crosshatch patterns found on Beth
Short. It may be that GHH paid homage to the Minotaur, The
Lovers and the Lips, and L’e’quivogue, with the Black Dahlia. When I saw
that I, to use your phrase, almost fell out of my chair. I had to let you know
The above painting “L’Equivoque” (1943) was painted by Man Ray just three years after he
arrived in Hollywood.
At that time,
he was close friends with Dr. George Hodel and his wife Dorothy. (Dorero)
George Hodel would buy the Sowden/Franklin House and reside just two-miles away
from the Villa Elaine, the resident
apartment of the Man Ray’s, located at 1245 N. Vine St., Hollywood.
Man Ray and Juliet would regularly attend
parties at the Hodel Sowden residence and the four remained intimate friends
until George fled the country in 1950. Man Ray as family friend took numberous
photographs of Dorothy, George and we three brothers over the decade of what is
known as his “Hollywood Years.”
Man Ray Hodel Family Photographs taken in Hollywood during the 1940s
Equivoque also equivoke. n.
1. An equivocal word or
2. A pun. A double meaning.
A [French équivoque, from Late Latin …]
victim Elizabeth Short at L.A. County Morgue taken on January 15, 1947. Visible
is the L’Equivoque “signature” surgically carved into the flesh, above the
Comparison to Man Ray’s LEquivoque
Was Elizabeth Short
the actual model for Man Ray’s 1943 L’Equivoque?
Elizabeth Short circa 1943
I would say
the chances are better than even that she might have actually posed for the
Elizabeth was in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area during 1942 and for at least nine months in 1943. (She wasn’t
arrested for “Minor Possession” and sent home until September, 1943.)
We also know
that in 1944, while in Hollywood she posed for an artist, Arthur Curstis James,
aka Charles Smith. She modeled for two separate paintings which were well
documented in the newspapers after her murder in 1947. (Some Dahlia
revisionists and “self-appointed experts” deny this, but the facts and
documents speak for themselves.)
Here is an
excerpt from BDA I where I originally referenced this contact back in 2003:
the unusual hair style in the Man Ray painting which appears identical to how
Elizabeth wore her hair during that same time period. Man Ray’s
model appears young and trim. Elizabeth in 1943 was trim and just 19.
regularly visited and frequented the Hollywood area and could have easily met
or been approached by George Hodel and or Man Ray (together or separately) and after
a social meet, might well have been offered money to pose for the artist at his
nearby studio on Vine Street.
The DA Files
document that George Hodel “was acquainted and associated with Elizabeth prior
to her murder” and multiple witnesses confirm that as fact.
It is also my
belief that the “A promise is a promise” sent from Washington D.C. to Elizabeth
in 1944 and signed “Yours” came from George Hodel who was known to travel and
make frequent trips to D.C. during those years.
If I am
correct, then the two (George and Elizabeth) would have met, known and had a
relationship prior to 1944, possibly from Elizabeth being his patient and
receiving treatment at his First Street
Clinic for her STD, “Bartholin gland cyst.”
also explain George Hodel’s tape recorded statement which indicated that his
secretary, Ruth Spaulding could have connected Elizabeth Short to George Hodel
prior to her death in May, 1945. (“They will never be able to prove I did that
murder. [Black Dahlia] They can’t talk to my secretary anymore, because she’s
dead.”) That statement clearly implies that had Ruth still been alive in
1947–she could in fact “connect them.”
likely never know if Elizabeth Short was, in fact, the actual model for Man
Ray’s painting. Obviously, after the murder in 1947, that is something that Man
Ray and all connected to him would never have allowed to be revealed or become
But, setting that question aside, in viewing Man Ray’s L’Equivoque, there can be little doubt as to what we are seeing.
Copley’s 1961 drawing, “It’s Midnight
House master bathroom as it appeared in 1947. (Note square tile patterns in both
Hodel as Man Ray’s close friend, the surrealist artist, William Copley reminded
us in his 1961 painting, “It’s Midnight Dr. ____,” sometime after midnight, in the privacy and isolation of his home, in
the early morning hours of January 15, 1947, with or without several accomplices
present (Baron Harringa? Fred Sexton?) began his horrific and sadistic torture-murder
and surgical bisection of Elizabeth Short.
signed his “Masterpiece” by directly copying Man Ray’s art work, L’Equivoque”
and with a scalpel in hand, carved it into the flesh of his victim’s right hip.
A double pun and his own E’quivoque.
taunting “inside joke” and one-upmanship. A secret esoteric message to be seen and
recognized only by an elite circle of
insiders–his fellow surrealists.
Thank you Dan Lackey for finding and
contributing a hugely significant piece to the MURDER AS A FINE ART puzzle.
And a special thanks to Librarian Steve Fjelsted, his staff and volunteers, and all of you who attended last night’s talk at the South Pasadena Library.
Here’s a link to CBS Video Interview at the Library: Click Here
Comment to lastest L’Equivoque discovery by T.A. Scott
“I wonder how many surreal appearances are
involved in this case, two dozen, more? With this latest Man Ray association,
one wonders how many surrealist thought-prints remain undiscovered. How many
are required before mere coincidence can be ruled out?
Regarding the uncertainty produced by the
criminal (or criminals) involved in this crime: The bewilderment produced by
the surrealist thought-prints in this case knows no bound, mystifying all
involved before, during and after the murder. These surreal signatures are
designed to create confusion, to destabilize the untrained eye, to conceal an
inside reference or pun that only the inner circle of surrealists could fully
understand. Although implanted surreal messages were often intellectual or even
humorous in nature, this murder represents a homicidal instance of surreal
appearance, a brutal, psychopathic act for history to witness in bafflement.”
July 24, 2013
SKH UPDATE- AUGUST 26, 2013
MAN RAY COMPANION PIECE
I have just
located what appears to be a companion piece to Man Ray’s first L’Equivoque.
painted at the same approximate time and place. (Hollywood, 1943) and using the
same model. This work was gifted to the Smithsonian in 1966 by Joseph H.
(Equivocation) Man Ray dated 1943
1/8×27 1/8 IN
Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian institution, Washington, DC,
Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966
SKH UPDATE AUG 28th
Crime Author Steve Hodel Insists Father is Los Angeles”s Black Dahlia Murderer
Article and Photos by, TOBY TIBBET, South Pasadena Review
Read her full article HERE.