200+ Attend South Pasadena Library Talk to Hear New Revelations Further Linking Dr. George Hodel to the Black Dahlia Murder and Linking the Hodel-Sowden House as the Original Murder Crime Scene


Friday, August 23,
Los Angeles,


so pas blog crowd shot interv FNL.jpg


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
(1999-2005) and then gave an update which focused on many of the
new findings as published in, Black
Dahlia Avenger II

The final
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
his friends.)

As a
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

The below
montage shows  just a few of the exhibits
used in my PowerPoint and discussed as linking to George Hodel’s murder

surrealism exhibits1.jpg



The below
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

man_ray_untitled sketch _1940.jpg


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:

More pieces
of the puzzle

surreal blog 1.jpg



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.)

In reviewing
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.)


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.

Just seven
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)

In 1945,
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

manray hodel family photos.jpg






Equivoque also equivoke. n.

1.    An equivocal word or

2.    A pun. A double meaning.

A    [French équivoque, from Late Latin …]


Photo of
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
right hip.

Comparison to Man Ray’s LEquivoque

Elizabeth Short Rt. Hip compared to Man Ray Equivoque.jpg

ghh signing.jpg

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

We know
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:

BDA page 155:

Arthur Curtis James Jr. (aka Charles Smith)

            Arthur James was a fifty-six-year-old artist and
ex-convict, awaiting sentencing in a pending forgery charge, who first met Elizabeth in a Hollywood cocktail lounge in August 1944. “She showed an
interest in my drawings,” he told police, who interviewed him in 1947 after
they discovered that James had known Elizabeth Short. James told police that he
was in a bar drawing sketches and she was seated nearby. After she said she
liked what James had sketched, he revealed to police that the two of them
became friends. “She modeled for me, and I made several pictures of her,” he
explained. He corroborated his statements by giving police the names of the current
owners of his artwork. “One, a large oil painting, I later turned over to a man
named Frank Armand, who lived in Artesia.” The second one he identified as “a
sketch of Elizabeth,
which I turned over to a Mrs. Hazel Milman, Star Route 1, Box 24, Rodeo Grounds, in the Santa Monica, Palisades
district.” James then told police that his contact with Elizabeth ended abruptly three months later
in November 1944 after he was arrested in Tucson,
, for violation of the
Mann Act, while he was using the alias of Charles Smith. The press later
established that the federal charges against him, involving the “transporting
of girls across a state line for immoral purposes,” did not involve and were
totally unrelated to the Elizabeth Short homicide.

            As a result of those charges James was convicted and
served two years in Leavenworth
prison. After his release in 1946, he ran into Elizabeth in Hollywood that November, when he bought her
several pieces of luggage. James quickly ran afoul of the law again, because the
check he wrote for the luggage bounced and he was arrested. At the time of his
interview with reporters in January 1947 he was awaiting sentencing on those


Also, note
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
for her STD, “Bartholin gland cyst.”  

This would
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.”

We will
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
Dr. ______”

copley tiles bathroom final.jpg

House master bathroom as it appeared in 1947. (Note square tile patterns in both

Dr. George
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.

He then
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.”

T.A. Scot
                                                                      July 24, 2013

ghh quote maafa.jpg







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.

equivoque 2.jpg

(Equivocation) Man Ray dated 1943
Dimensions 22
1/8×27 1/8 IN
Painting 1943
Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian institution, Washington, DC,
Gift of
Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966
School:  Dada/Fluxus


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.





  1. Greg Crosby on August 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Mr. Hodel, I attended your talk last Thursday at the South Pasadena Library. It was good to meet you and I thank you for signing the two books I purchased that evening.
    I’ve written you in years past,(you might remember that I mentioned my father once worked for Mickey Cohen in the forties as a bookmaker and “collector” as well as working as a bondsmen with August Nardoni Bail Bonds). I am a former creative executive VP for the Walt Disney Studios (27 years)and I currently write a weekly column for The Tolucan Times, a local community paper in Toluca Lake. I have followed your writings for some time now and I commend you on your teriffic detective work.
    As I sat listening to your talk, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind that I would like to share with you now. Please excuse me If they seem superficial or silly, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to mention them so here goes.
    (1) As you must be so keenly aware, with each passing day, the chances of first person testimony lessens as people from the era die off. One major player from that time who is still with us is movie star Olivia de Havilland, who resides in France these days. She had a notable and very hot affair with John Huston early on in her career and certainly would be in the know concerning the “right connected people” in LA and Hollywood at that time. I’m sure she must have at least heard of your father back then and his activities. Did she know anything specific regarding B. Short? Who knows. It might be worth a try.
    (2) I wonder if Angelica or Danny Huston would know anything or be willing to talk with you about their father.
    Again these things may seem trivial and too obscure to have any real evidentiary value to you, but at least I got them out of my head and into yours.
    Best Regards,
    Greg Crosby
    Sherman Oaks,CA

  2. Steve Hodel on August 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Greg:
    Thanks for the Email and suggestions, and no, nothing is silly. I welcome all input and have received huge amounts of assistance from readers and through emails as the most recent Man Ray L’Equivoque so dramatically shows.
    Have had no contact with either Danny or Angelica, but I know that several readers have mentioned my investigation to him. He might be open but ??I think Angelica would be much less inclined as she, like many, would rather reconstruct her father’s image and make/keep it as positive as possible. My sense is that she has a need to erase “the bad” and focus on just “the good.” So, doubt she would want to assist in any way.
    I did have contact with one of John’s wives, “CC” Celeste Huston, who advised me to contact John’s longtime secretary and production assistant “Alice,” who frequently referred to “a murder that John knew about and talked about constantly.” CC was very supportive and strongly supported my investigation and was convinced of its accuracy. Alice (blanking on her last name now?) has since passed on.
    Problem with statements from that long ago, hard to really get much traction with them. People remember incorrectly and embellish so much. I think that if someone had important information they would have either come forward long ago, or more likely, like my mother, decided to just take it with them to the grave. All Best, Steve
    ***Oct 17 Correction: Huston’s assistant mentioned above was not “Alice” but rather was Gladys Hill, who worked in close association with him from the 1940s forward. Here is here IMDB info: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0384283/

Leave a Comment