Dr. George Hodel’s Photo No.2 : Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short A Post Mortem Posing At the Sowden/Franklin House
December 8, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
I recently received a query from a reader, Tom Balderas as follows:
Hi Steve, just out of curiosity do you think the photo of the girl / ES in the photo album was actually photographed horizontally as opposed to a vertical? In the photo, it looks as though she is standing or propped up against a wall but if you turn it on its side ‘horizontal’ direction it is actually a reclining / laid out girl on a cement floor or perhaps carpet. Was the basement concrete flooring? I hope I’m making the question clear. Tom
Excellent question Tom.
Initially, when I originally examined the photograph, I did believe that she was lying in a supine position on the floor on a carpet. However, in studying the photograph I now believe that she is sitting in an upright position with her back and arm braced against what I believe is one of my father’s upholstered chairs in the living room of the Sowden/Franklin House. Here’s my summary as published in Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press 2014) pages 83-84.
Setting aside speculation about who appears in Photo No. 2, let’s
take a closer look at the actual photo.
Here’s an enlargement of the No.2 photo and the back of one of the two upholstered chairs that were present in the Sowden/Franklin House living room in January 1947.
Clearly, her upper body and left arm could have been posed against this chair which closely matches the background material in Photo No.2.
The DA was right, you are a pit-bull, once you get your teeth in something, you never let go! Love ya bro-
Thanks bro. And being a pit bull, all I want now is a small adult dog to join me up here in rural Birch Bay, WA.
Started looking again at the Humane Society, so maybe the right pooch will come along soon? XO Happy Holidays to you and Angel.
Added comment Steve! Were your ears burning this past weekend? At a BDay dinner for youngest daughter Grace in Phx., SIL Chris asks me “Hey Pat, that serial killer guy you know 😣 did he know the Black Dahlia? Well, you can imagine the rest of our dinner conversation!! Definitely add more people who would definitely tune in to the miniseries so keep pushing that! And you just may have more readers too! Daughter Grace quietly asked w/exasperation “Mom, is murder/mayhem what you think of as you paint?!” You would have a common bond tho w/Grace as the most enjoyable/relaxing thing she does is walking her 2 Huskies. Get that rescue pooch & walk the beaches! Ok, now I’m missing the ocean😟. 😎🌵
I’m looking for my four-legged “partner” as I type. If not by Xmas, then hopefully by early 2023. Need her (or him?) to get me off my butt and out for walks by the Bay for sure. Though maybe not in this stormy/almost snowy weather for a bit.
👍…..send pix when new family member arrives!
Did they ever remove the wired mics from the Franklin house or are they still embedded in the walls?
Good question. *s*
Never even thought about it. I have to think they did recover the hard microphones at some point. Some kind of ruse maybe after he sold the house in 1950, but?? Who knows. Stranger things have happened.
Hello Steve, our HEALING CIRCLE sends you a deep cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing. Connecting with our FOREFATHERS and FOREMOTHERS gives us peace!
Or maybe Buster 😊
I used a common magnifying glass on the two photos. As best as I can tell, the texture of the surfaces look very much alike in the two photos. I’m sure you’ve examined these two quite closely yourself, Steve. It’s just difficult to confirm, especially given how brightly lit the back of the chair is in the right photo. Your ‘trophy photo’ theory sounds plausible. However, it strikes me that it would be very difficult to get Ms. Short – or whomever this may be – into that upright horizontal position without her full cooperation. My guess – and this is only a guess – is that ES must have permitted GHH to apply the lipstick as he saw fit. I’m wondering if that might have been a hard concrete or stone surface (?)
Could be unconscious and drugged or dead? Well if it was off the carpet seen in the photo it was hard surface. Possibly linoleum, I don’t recall, other than the floors were hard. Odds are now way in favor of it being ES, but even if it is another, does not matter as the LADA Hodel/Black Dahlia Files ID them as acquainted and dating.
Steve, my mind pictures the “event” perhaps with Man Ray in attendance. IMO the lipstick definitely smeared by GH as Man Ray looks on with laughing approval.
Making sport of women in dire conditions or death was great enjoyment to GH & his buddies. So dangerous a time …….and so completely pushed aside by LE in southern CA & later again in northern CA with the Zodiac killings.😞
Possible certainly. Almost impossible to know, absent any incriminating statements, if Man Ray and others were present at the actual torture/murder. I’ve always had the impression that Man Ray was a more passive closet Sadist, but?
On the other hand, we do have the positive statements made to Steven Lamb in 1978, by surrealist Ed Teske who had clearly been there done that at some point in time. “It’s an EVIL place. Artists, philosophers, accountants, and politicians we all played and paid there. Women were tortured for sport there. Murders happened there. It’s an evil place.”
I think the photo can be sufficiently explained as “Homage to Man Ray, Version One.” (Not a trophy photograph.) Intentionally smeared lips, minotaur pose, bisected body, somnolescence. All in one. GH wasn’t satisfied with the artistry, so he repeated the homage in 3D.
The lips seem to me to be the clue. No woman would put on makeup and smear her lipstick.. I can’t see GH putting her makeup on her. So she must have smeared them at his direction.
I think your are likely correct in that both Man Ray photographs that he posed “in 3D” at the vacant lot can be seen in the photo. But, I can see GHH putting on the lipstick and smearing it. Part of the active artistry. I’m confident she was either unconscious or near death. (Recall how he waited until his secretary, Ruth Spaulding was comatose then took her to the Central Receiving Hospital where she died a half hour later. As an MD he would know for sure.