Most Evil II- An Email from "J.R." and a "Hello Dali" Question Relating to Surreal Killer, Dr. George Hill Hodel


Surrealist artists Salvador Dali and Man Ray

I Wanted to share some early comments from my “Man in the Street”, J.R. Neumiller.

“J.R.” has followed my investigation and made regular personal comments and observations since the original publication of Black Dahlia Avenger back in April 2003.  Here is his latest e-mail sent to me after his reading of my just published, Most Evil II:

From: J.R. Neumiller
To: Steve Hodel
September 19, 2015

Well, you did it. You genuinely cracked the case. When I read the jacket and saw this ancient letter-form language being referenced, I thought, “Oh, George has been into some real esoteric stuff. “

Yes, he surely had been, but your tracking down of the real source of his ogham involvement brought everything full circle. He was a frustrated ARTIST, and could never come up with anything original on his own. Like the Salieri character from Amadeus, his gift was one of appreciation rather than genuine creativity.

Ah, but he could kill. And lend some style into that. Amazing his Dada crew was so spiritually attuned to that same sentiment – no wonder he was probably held in awe by many in those circles.

Yes, you have really run this much further to ground than probably even you imagined. The whole “murder as fine art” angle, which you developed right from the start, is definitively the linking element that turns up in everything GHH does. He was a “patron” of the finest order, and truly appreciated all things eclectic and deviant. (I wonder if anyone will take the time and expose these people for who they really are. And, as Salvador Dali is the most well known Surrealist, why is he so little connected with the GHH crew? Rival camps?)

It’s undeniable, Steve. You really solved this. I’ve been rolling this around, trying to find flaws or faults, but it totally fits. The entire purpose of the Halloween card was to reveal his identity. He used that symbol twice in it’s contents, meaning he was very deliberate in his intention. Whether anyone can account for all the symbology in all the elements in that card is beside the point. You cracked your father’s Dada code that he felt so clever and connected in using.

(Your father would be very impressed right now, if he weren’t in so much current pain.)

Amazing job, my friend, and congrats on FINALLY nailing this to the wall. If you had not developed this artists angle so thoroughly in all your previous books, it simply would not have stood out so starkly. With it, it’s not, “Yeah, maybe it happened that way,” but “Of course it happened that way! It totally fits.”

I’ve tried around a few of the boards this morning and several of them are actually closed and are not posting anything new——(website name redacted by skh)  had the usual childish banter, but no seeming awareness that all their pet fantasies are now come to a complete end.

Post some fallout as you find it on your blog. (Still wish it had an auto-notification feature so you wouldn’t have to manually alert users of new content.) I’ll keep searching on my own, but it seems hard to find an open board where I can leave comments and push this in their face.

Many kudos again, Steve, for your dogged and committed efforts to find the truth. Thank God for all His undeniable mercies.

J.R. Neumiller


In his e-mail, J.R. asks:

“Salvador Dali is the most well-known Surrealist, why is he so little connected with the GHH crew? Rival camps?

Good question J.R.  I am not an expert as relates to the Surrealist Movement. However, my investigation has given me a cursory introduction to some of the main players and their interactions with each other both in the U.S. and abroad, mainly in Paris.

I do not know if my father ever met Salvador Dali, but there were clearly opportunities for them to meet during Dali’s several visits to Los Angeles and Hollywood in the mid-and-late 1940s.  We do have photographs of Man Ray and Dali together during the filming of Hitchcock’s Spellbound in 1945.

As you know, in BDA II I make what I believe are my father’s connections and references to Dali’s “Dream Sequence” which George plagiarized from Hitchcock’s 1945 film, Spellbound. I believe both the Juliet Stocking Mask (1945) and the “eyes” from the Spellbound set design, which as Zodiac George reproduced on his 1970 Halloween Card, mailed to Paul Avery (“Averly”) at the San Francisco Chronicle.(This is the same card that he signed his real name to in a coded cipher and is just now “cracked” and revealed in Most Evil II.)

spellbound compare 2

Dali eyes from Spellbound set compared to eyes drawn on Halloween card by Zodiac

When I was originally researching Man Ray and the other Dadaists, I recall references that most of the Man Ray followers had a falling out with Dali. Sounded like it was over jealousy of his success and popularity and the fact he was receiving huge sums of money for his artwork, while they remained “struggling artists.”

In fact, they created an anagram out of his name—“AVIDA DOLLARS” (below)

avida dollars

Here is a link to an excellent 2005 article on Salvador Dali- Avida Dollars by artist Mark Vallen, that lays out Dali’s history and relationship with Surrealism and his expulsion from the movement in 1939.

In closing, let me again communicate to J.R. my deepest gratitude for his loyalty and support and objective analysis that now spans: a decade of time, four books, over 800 photo exhibits, and the review of more than 2000 pages of ongoing investigation.

Steve Hodel
Los Angeles


  1. J.R. Neumiller on October 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for your comments about Dali and the rest of the surrealists. Makes perfect sense that he would’ve been ostracized over something as basic as money. I guess they weren’t as liberated in their philosophy as they imagined. Nothing like money, (or the lack thereof,) to make bedfellows out of the strangest people. Which, if you notice, is not a very eclectic or novel ideal.

    Steve, I have been captivated, intrigued, and highly regarded for my efforts in understanding and following your story. It is truly one of the most real-life and amazing stories I’ve ever come across. I was somewhat familiar with the Black Dahlia case but only after the John Gilmore variety, (which has totally been debunked.) When I heard your story on 48 Hours, I was very intrigued, bought version two of BDA, and the rest is history. WAY too many points of confluence for our to be coincidence.

    And, I’m continually intrigued by your ongoing investigation, (as we have spoken in the past.) This story is one of the most intriguing, most distressing in the history of this country. It just fails to be put to rest. Yes, your father would be proud of his son’s efforts, but not at the expense of his reputation.

    We all wish there had never been an investigation for you to follow in the first place, but that you have, I can think of no one better suited or qualified to run it than yourself. You have refrained from the basest form of tit for tat retaliation against some of the low-life, Crap for brains individuals masquerading as journalists and men of character at-large. I just don’t see anyone mounting any sustained offensives at your work lately, and the fact that there has beena deafening SILENCE even among those who formerly have supported and vindicated you is truly telling. Perhaps there may yet be a reconciliation in their souls.

    Continue your nobel efforts, for they are not going in vain.

    • Steve Hodel on October 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      J.R. Thanks as always for your continued interest and support.

      Yes $$$$$$$$$$ pretty much always rules the day. How does the axiom go? “ART FOR ART$ $AKE.” Man Ray was not well received during his decade long stay in Los Angeles, but after returning to Paris he eventually began making the “big bucks.” As indicated in MOST EVIL II his small sculpture of wood and cork gifted to my dad was listed at the Butterfield action between $30-$50,000. His famous tears photo sold in auction for $180,000 in 1999 then resold for over 1M. Attached is a link to an article, “The Surreal Selling of Man Ray”

      Had to laugh at your “deafening silence” observation. People don’t like it when you “Mess With Their Myths.” Much the same with the Dahlia investigation. But, those naysayers are really a pretty small community with very loud voices. But, as you say, even they have gone silent. At least for now.

      All Best, Steve

  2. rb on October 9, 2015 at 12:54 pm
  3. Matt on February 12, 2019 at 4:20 am

    The significance of the Minotaur is what sealed it for me. In the surrealist movement it was an important symbol taken from Pablo Picasso. Picasso used the Minotaur as a representation of himself and his inner darkest desires. He had an affair with an underage women which resulted in a child and the dissolution of his marriage, so he used the Minotaur (half human half beast) to represent his battle with some of his innermost demons such as violence, and sex with minors. Surrealists like Dali were greatly inspired by Picasso. Even though he wasn’t a surrealist Picasso was asked and agreed to create the first cover for a surrealist magazine in Paris called the “minotaure” which was inspired by his representation of the Minotaur. After that the Minotaur became a symbol and philosophy in surrealism about giving in to your worst inner desires no matter they were. All of a sudden you start seeing the Minotaur in various different surrealist artist work including Dali and man ray. It was almost like a secret symbol to other surrealist who had done their homework. I believe George Hodel started trying to live this philosophy of the Minotaur and, as posted above, was frustrated that he wasn’t able to create this art on a canvas or through sculpture so he used his psychopathy, and medical knowledge instead. The detail that convinced me that the black dahlia murder was actuality an art exhibit is the rectangle cut out of Elizabeth Smart’s thigh. If you look at several Salvador Dali pieces dedicated to the Minotaur there are rectangles cut out of his thigh and a sort of opening in the stomach where a scorpion is coming out. In Man Ray’s interpretation of the Minotaur it is just a woman’s mid section with the arms above her head. I think any real surrealist would instantly understand the symbology of the black dahlia. A perfect symbol of giving in to your darkest desires of violence and sex while at the same time providing an artistic representation of the Minotaur. It was like he combined a Dali and Man ray piece into one. One thing is for sure… a person who was deep into surrealism killed the black dahlia. Without a doubt.

    • Steve Hodel on February 12, 2019 at 9:55 am

      Matt: Exactly so. George Hodel did see himself as The Minotaur. Half man, half beast and the destroyer of young maidens imprisoned in the maze of his own mind- his own psychopathic Labyrinth.

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