March 22, 2021
Los Angeles, California
Black Dahlia Avenger’s “Gerald Moss” real name is-
Strip photo was taken in Indianapolis, Indiana 1946
In a 2005 updated chapter of BDA, I informed the public that
I had identified and conducted a follow-up interview with the “Unidentified
Man” seen in the above photograph. (This was the first and remains the only non-police interview ever conducted and identifying George Main since his chance meeting with Elizabeth Short in 1946.)
At the time of my interview, he was eighty-three years old and living in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. In the updated chapter, to protect his privacy, I gave him the pseudonym of “Gerald Moss.”
Here is a capsulated summary of the facts as they relate to George Main and his photograph:
The strip photo with Elizabeth Short was taken in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1946, during the brief two-hour time that George and Elizabeth shared together on the bus and in the city.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson never identified the man in the photo (George Main), but only identified Elizabeth Short. (The newspaper text was misleading forcing the editor to make a retraction clarifying that the Johnsons only identified Elizabeth from the strip photo, and had no idea who the male with her was?) The Johnsons did identify “Mr. Barnes” from another photo found in her luggage, but LAPD has “lost” that photo in which they described “Mr. Barnes was connected with a foreign government.” (As indicated in BDA, I suspect they were shown a photo of George Hodel standing with the Chinese Generals, which he may have sent to Elizabeth from China.)
The fantasies and websites that have built up a myth that the strip photo is of “Ed Burns”, the real Black Dahlia killer, are false. No “Ed Burns” ever played a part in any official police reports that I have seen, either LAPD or the DA. As far as I can tell, he only exists in the minds of his creators.
Based on my investigation it appears that at some time the killer was in possession of Elizabeth Short’s personal photo albums and removed five photos from them, which he then included in his mailing, “Letter To Follow”. One of these photos contained one of the four strip photos of George Main, taken in Indianapolis, IN. The other three from that same strip machine were found in her luggage.
The identity and elimination of the photograph of George Main have been known by the LAPD and the DA’s Office and can be found in their reports since 1947 and 1950. Further, both agencies confirmed that the photo was taken in Indianapolis, IN and that George Main at that time had never been to Los Angeles, California.
One copy of strip photo of “unidentified man” with Elizabeth Short (subsequently
identified as George Main aka “Gerald Moss)” mailed to press by Black
Dahlia Avenger in the week following her murder and the above shown three attached strip photos were found in her luggage a few days later. All four photos were taken at the same time and place in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1946.
The enlarged set of three photos seen in the newspaper article above and being held by Mrs. and Mrs. Johnson led to the public being misinformed that the Johnsons identified both individuals. In fact, they only identified the single photo of Elizabeth Short as checking into their hotel. They subsequently identified another male “connected to a foreign government” as possibly being “Mr. Barnes”, the man who rented the room and was with Miss Short.
Possible photo found in Elizabeth Short’s luggage that was shown to the Johnson’s who describe identifying “Mr. Barnes” from a separate photo shown to them by LAPD of “a man connected to a foreign government.” (See FAQ 10 above)
GEORGE MAIN (1921-2010) R.I.P.
While the LAPD and the LADA’s original Black Dahlia investigators
identified and eliminated George Main as a suspect shortly after the murder, his true name was never released or made public. After I discovered his true identity in 2004, I also, for George’s sake, kept his name private.
Only last week did I discover that George Main has passed
on. He lived to the advanced age of 89 and died in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Since he has passed, I am here making his real identity public for the first time ever.
Here is a brief obituary on George Main, as posted on the
He was born August 30, 1921 in Ellwood City, PA, to the late George R., Sr. and Viola Dorothy (Flinner) Main. George was a graduate of Tech High School. He was employed with Chrysler Corporation in the computer and production
divisions, retiring in 1982. He was a member of Westside Pentecostal Church.
George is survived by his wife, Viola A. Main; step-children, Anthony Briddle
(Annette), Melvin Briddle, and Lola Kost (Dale); six grandchildren; ten
great-grandchildren; sisters, Vallie Williams and Dorothy Vance.
Washington Park East Cemetery