(Below excerpted from full article)
The Black Dahlia may have visited the Cecil Hotel bar at some point in her life, but there’s no evidence to support the theory that she was there on the night of her disappearance. The rumor derives from a police report by LAPD officer Myril McBride, who noted that she encountered a young woman who left a bar on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles and claimed that someone had threatened to kill her. When McBride saw photos of Short, she reportedly didn’t identify her as the woman she spoke with on the evening in question. It’s also worth noting that McBride didn’t specifically reference the Cecil Hotel bar in her report — still, the legend has become that Short did indeed visit the infamous location before disappearing. The woman that McBride spoke with also stated the she planned to meet with her parents that evening, which contrasts with the fact that The Black Dahlia had been estranged from her family.
As for the Lam case, there are indeed similarities to the final days of The Black Dahlia. Both women visited San Diego in the days before their deaths, and both women spent time in a seedy Los Angeles neighborhood. In addition, both corpses were naked when they were discovered. Beyond that, there’s no physical evidence that connects Lam and Short, aside from a specific geographic location in Southern California. Of course, they’ll be forever linked by Cecil Hotel mythology, though, certainly after the release of Crime Scene.
Here are my comments on journalist Q.V. Hough’s article which I posted to the SCREENRANT website.
Well, glad to see the corrections made which are for the most part accurate. Good on you!
A couple of minor points and corrections to your piece.
You are correct that LAPD officer Meryl McBride was the last person to see the victim, Elizabeth Short on her beat in DTLA. I conducted an in-person interview of officer Meryl McBride (long retired from LAPD) at her home in 2002, a year prior to the publication of my book, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder (Arcade 2003).
Officer McBride saw her TWICE in the afternoon hours of Jan 14, 1947. The first time was when the victim came running from an unnamed bar near 5th and Main St.
She ran up to McBride told her “a man, a former suitor has threatened to kill me, he’s in the bar.”
Both victim Elizabeth Short and the officer returned to the unnamed bar and the man was gone, but McBride informed me that she recovered Short’s purse for her and they separated.
Officer McBride went on to inform me she saw Elizabeth Short a few hours later coming out of a second bar near 5th and Main with “two men and a woman”. *
McBride stopped her and asked, “Are you OK?” Elizabeth Short replied, “Yes, I’m going to meet my dad at the Greyhound Bus Station up the street.”
The officer continued on her foot beat.
McBride informed me that “there was NO DOUBT that the young woman she spoke to was in fact Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
She added, “The Brass on LAPD had me change my story to ‘I think it was her, or it looked like her’ because they didn’t want the public to think that LAPD was responsible in part for her death as she was found on the following morning in the vacant lot.”
The Cecil Hotel was at 6th and Main, but McBride never indicated that was the location and there were numerous bars on 5th Street back in 1947.
Elizabeth Short was tortured and slain just six or seven hours after speaking with Officer McBride.
The location of Short’s murder has been established as being at the Sowden House, 5121 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, my father’s then private residence. (Cement bags from the residence found and used to transport the bisected body parts to the crime scene along with other evidence establish this fact.) Her body posed at 4800 Block South Norton Ave on a vacant lot at about 6AM, just thirteen hours after her conversation with officer McBride when she was accompanied by “two men and a woman.”
We have documented police reports that indicated that Elizabeth Short stayed several nights at the Figueroa Hotel on Sept 20-21, 1946 which is located at 9th and Figueroa St. (Approx. nine city blocks from 5th and Main St.)
Det. III Steve Hodel, LAPD Hollywood Homicide (ret.)
In addition to thirteen other witness identifications of Short’s movements during her supposed “Missing Week” there is additional documentation that Elizabeth Short was seen at two South Main Street bars during her fictional “Missing Week.”
Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short was seen in two separate Main Street bars two days prior to her contact with Officer McBride on January 14th. (These could likely be the same bars that McBride saw her at two days later.)
The Dugout Bar, 634 S. Main St. on Jan 12, 1947 at 3pm, seen by the bartender, C.G. Williams, who knew her well on sight.
The Gay Way bar, 514 S. Main St. on Jan 12, 1947 seen by, Miss Betty Blake, a dancer at the bar, knew her and had seen her in at bar in the afternoon hours.Fifteenth Witness to “No Missing Week” Dancer, Betty Blake.