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.


SKH Note- As published in my later books/investigation we now know that based on results from one of the world’s leading Facial Recognition Analysis Laboratories, comparing known photographs of Elizabeth Short, Photo No. 2 has been identified with “95-97% certainty that it is the victim, Elizabeth Short. (A “positive ID requires 99.7%)
SKH Note II-  In regards to the above Photo No.2 several naysayers who saw it claimed, “the family looked at the photo and said it was not Elizabeth Short. The family eliminated the photo.” IN FACT, only one elderly sister was allegedly shown the two album photos side by side and was attributed as saying, “It’s not Elizabeth because she never wore a flower in her hair.” Her comment would indicate she was “eliminating” the other photo in the album which I eliminated fifteen years ago. That sister “witness” had not seen Elizabeth in 58 years since she herself was a teen. (In fact, Elizabeth Short did wear flowers in her hair and photos exist to prove it.)  Based on the sister’s statement she well could have been eliminating the George Hodel album photo below (rt.)of “Maganda” true name, Marya Marco whom I identified and eliminated on CNN Anderson Cooper back in 2010. Also, regarding ‘the family eliminated her” the fact is that “the family”: Cleo, Phoebe, Virginia, and Elenora, were all deceased before BDA was published. That leaves two remaining sisters: Muriel, (unknown if she was deceased prior to publication or not), but if still living in 2003, it would have been over fifty years since she saw a photo of her sister as she was born in 1929. That would leave Dorothea, unknown if she was still living, but she would have been in her eighties and would not have seen a photo of her sister for also over fifty years. Finally, I am not aware of any individual that has come forward and identified himself or herself as the person obtaining a “photo elimination from the family” or even naming the family member they claim made the elimination. Again, part of the MYTH, “Oh, the Hodel photo was eliminated.” If so, When? By Whom?

                                                                                             Actress, Marya Marco was eliminated by Steve Hodel on CNN Anderson Cooper in 2010. This was done through an in-person interview with Marya in Central California. She indicated that George Hodel got her in films in the 1940s and the photo was taken at the Sowden/Franklin House. She further provided statements that tended to confirm Tamar’s allegation of sexual molestation by her father, George Hodel back in 1949. (See Marya Marco’s statements/interview in BDA II (2014) where she stated that “in 1949 she was contacted by GHH who asked her to take care of Tamar for a few days as he was in trouble.” Marco agreed and Tamar sent by taxi stayed with her for several days and told her, “My daddy was bad to me.”)


  1. Kelvin Hodel on December 8, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    The DA was right, you are a pit-bull, once you get your teeth in something, you never let go! Love ya bro-

    • Steve Hodel on December 8, 2022 at 6:16 pm

      Kelvin H:
      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.

      • Patricia ONeill on December 9, 2022 at 11:47 am

        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😟. 😎🌵

        • Steve Hodel on December 9, 2022 at 11:52 am

          Patricia O:
          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.

          • Patricia ONeill on December 9, 2022 at 3:02 pm

            👍…..send pix when new family member arrives!

      • John Hewitt on December 9, 2022 at 3:24 pm

        Did they ever remove the wired mics from the Franklin house or are they still embedded in the walls?

        • Steve Hodel on December 9, 2022 at 3:33 pm

          John H.
          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.

      • Yolanda Camacho on December 10, 2022 at 10:20 am

        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!

        Peace always!
        Yolie 💎

      • Sonya serna on December 13, 2022 at 4:15 pm

        Or maybe Buster 😊

      • Michelle on January 28, 2024 at 1:23 am

        Wow, I have just watched the Dark Secrets of the Hodel Family … I found the story very interesting … I really think it is rather irresponsible of the cops to not do DNA on the stamp as it would put a lot to rest for all the families involved. I hope one day soon you get that DNA test. I myself think that George murdered Dahlia.
        Good luck Michelle from Australia

        • Steve Hodel on January 28, 2024 at 1:58 am

          Michelle: Thanks from the kind words from Downunder. Much appreciated.
          Maybe someday one of the many law enforcement agencies will test DNA. Best, Steve

  2. Barry Guerrero on December 8, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    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 (?)

    • Steve Hodel on December 8, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      Barry G:
      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.

      • Patricia ONeill on December 9, 2022 at 11:27 am

        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.😞

        • Steve Hodel on December 9, 2022 at 11:44 am

          Patricia O:
          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.”

  3. Dani on December 8, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    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.

  4. Steve Hodel on December 8, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    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.

  5. Nate on August 29, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    No lacerations is very interesting. (It is just what I thought.) I don’t think the doctor did anything illegal. Not even a voluntary manslaughter because he was probably forced to provide her whatever she kept injecting. Looks more involuntary and negligent. The morgue however covering up for him, today would be abuse of a corpse, but back in 1947 there actually were no laws in California against it. Your father was a good man. He had a mischievous side that toyed with law enforcement. But he was no different than the Michael Jackson doctor. If he didn’t provide medications he would have been out of work.

  6. Daron on January 30, 2024 at 2:27 pm

    What other evidence do you have that leads to the suspect being George Hodel? If so, why do you believe it was him?

    • Steve Hodel on January 30, 2024 at 3:03 pm


      Twenty-three years of ongoing investigations and eight books presenting hard physical evidence, witness statements, and DA opinions “Case Solved”; along with Dr/George Hodel’s own tape-recorded admissions to committing the crime.. Suggest you check out those

      • Daron on February 1, 2024 at 2:37 pm

        Thank you sir, but looking at the tape recording. Why would George kill Elizabeth in the first place? I’m doing a presentation of why I think George Hodel is the suspect, but can’t find out why he killed her.

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