Sixth Surrealist Secret Revealed -1950 Sketch Pays Further Homage to and Again Links, Close Friend, Dr. George Hill Hodel to the 1947 Black Dahlia Murder.

January 3, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
As the clock struck twelve and we entered into a New Year, I was wondering just how long it would be before a “new clew” was discovered in one of the many serial crimes attributed to my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel. Would it be a week? Two? A month?
And, to which of his many serial crimes might it be related?  The Black Dahlia or one of the many L.A. Lone Woman Murders; The Chicago Lipstick Murders; Manila’s Jigsaw Murder; the San Francisco Bay Area Zodiac Murders; or might it help add to the solution of one of the two dozen,  “Early Years Crimes” from the long ago?
Well, my answer came much faster than I had thought.
Here it is, just two days into the new year.  The crime?  Elizabeth Short, “The Black Dahlia Murder”- Los Angeles 1947.

Sixth Visual Clew Discovered – A Quick Review of 1-5:

Through the years and in the chapters of my previous eight publications, I have presented the Man Ray clews and linkage revealing (during his decade of residency [1940-1951] known as Ray’s “Hollywood Years.”) his and his good friend surrealist’s, (William Copley), knowledge of and connections to  George Hodel as the Black Dahlia killer.  Here is a brief reminder of those five previous links as a preface to my newest discovery, the sixth visual clew.  Consider them as structural building blocks, much like those used by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. to construct and hold together the walls of his most famous architectural work, “Hollywood’s SowdenHouse” at 5121 Franklin- The actual residence of Dr. Geoge Hill Hodel and family from 1945-1950 and the likely 1947 crime scene of LA’s most infamous murder, that of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
Sowden/Hodel residence 1945-1950
Man Ray Linkage No. 1
L’Equivoque painting 1943

Man Ray’s L’Equivoque painting (1943) obviously preceded the murder of Elizabeth Short by four years, still, it is my belief (later substantiated by and documented in the LADA/LAPD Hodel Black Dahlia Files) that Man Ray and George Hodel knew the victim and the painting helps to establish her identity and the fact that she was known to both men.  Evidence that Elizabeth Short likely posed for this painting in 1943 has been detailed in my previous writings. As shown above, it is my belief that during the 1947 torture/murder that occurred at the Franklin House, George Hodel copied and surgically carved the above geometrical figure into the victim’s right hip in imitation of the crosshatching in the painted figure’s face in Man Ray’s L’Equivoque painting (1943) along with additional posings and crime signatures referencing other Man Ray artworks such as: (The Minotaure, The Loves Lips). (Above photo right shows victim’s body at LA Coroner’s autopsy.)
Man Ray Linkage No. 2 & No.3
Man Ray/William Copley Secret Linkage/”Alphabet For Adults”-Q for Quarrel
In the 1940s Man Ray and California surrealist William Copley became close friends and Copley opened an art exhibition house, “The Copley Galleries” at 257 N. Canon Drive, in Beverly Hills.

Rene Magritte and Man Ray exhibitions at Copley Galleries, 1949
Included in this exhibition was Man Ray’s painting (above left), Observatory Time, The Lovers (1936)  which showed the Paris Observatory with a pair of Man Ray’s former lover, Lee Miller’s lips suspended in air, floating across the horizon.
                                                     Lee Miller and Man Ray

Copley’s gallery venture was short-lived his gallery closed within six months. However, his relationship with Man Ray remained active.  In 1948 Copley collaborated with Man Ray to publish an art book, “Alphabet for Adults”, containing whimsical illustrations by Man Ray which included each letter of the alphabet.
Of particular interest to us is the book’s letter Q.
Man Ray writes, “Q is for Quarrel.

Graphic by Author/Dallas PD officer (ret.) Robert Sadler 
Man Ray Clew No. 3
The drawing upper left depicts “Q” for Quarrel as it appeared in the original 1948 book. It shows a couple in profile, “quarreling” inside the courtyard of Dr. George Hodel’s Sowden/Franklin House, 5121 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood. Also, included is the drawing of a woman’s lower torso with Man Ray’s 1944 sculpture “Object of my affection- The Occulist”, positioned to represent  her vagina, as well as an “all-seeing eye, and witness to the couples, “quarrel.”
 Man Ray gifted this sculpture to his good friend Dr. George Hodel in 1948 just a year after the Black Dahlia murder.

L’Occuliste on display at Dr. Hodel’s headquarters in Manila, Philippines.
William Copley Clew No. 4
“It’s Midnight Dr. _______.” William Copley (1961)
Graphics by author Robert Sadler
Surrealist William Copley, following his good friend Man Ray’s lead, created his own homage to Dr. George Hodel showing him about to perform the surgical bisection of Elizabeth Short at the Franklin House residence. His “clews” included the actual name HODEL spelled out as surgical tools and the use of simulated tiles to form the painting’s background. Also, we see in the enlargement of the doctor’s hatband the possibility that Copley has again, spelled out the name George Hodel.

Master tiled bathroom at Hodel residence.
Copley went even further by not only copying the master bathroom tiles for the painting’s background but, also cleverly disclosing the murder location’s address. (Note: LAPD believed the surgical bisection occurred in a tub at a private residence where the body could be washed clean, as found posed at the vacant lot.) Copley accomplished this disguised disclosure by making the background a grid of tiles twelve wide by fifteen high or 12×15 which, read backward is: 5121-the actual address of the Hodel residence on Franklin Avenue.
Man Ray Clew No. 5- The Minotaur (1969)
Man Ray lithograph 1969

Man Ray’s drawing of the minotaur shows blood flowing out from the lower torso to form the creature’s body and feet. An artistic visual metaphor referencing the 1947 Black Dahlia bisection and posing by Dr. George Hodel.
Now, with this backgrounding of the five surrealists “clews” let’s take a look and the newly discovered 6th clew, in which Man Ray again takes us directly back to the Hodel residence/crime scene and by name identification to his earlier drawings. NOTE: in French, L’Equivoque can be translated to English as The Equivocation or The Confluence. Both translations at once become enigmatic metaphors for both surrealist expression and surrealist criminal acts.
Man Ray Clew No. 6- L’Equivoque 1950

                                                            L’Equivoque 1950

Man Ray drawing 1950
Man Ray’s 1950 sketch, in my opinion, reinforces his earlier 1943 and 1948 visual revelations and again embodies and entombs (literally) victim Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short as part of the architecture of the George Hodel Sowden/Franklin House.  Here again, Man Ray shows us his earlier referenced nude woman, though in this 1950 sketch her head and “hair’ appear to match or simulate the residence’s superstructure, becoming part of it.  Not unlike the use of the Sowden House’s interior courtyard’s facade in “Q for Quarrel”.

To the left of her naked body  (above) we see dark lines that to my mind resemble “dripping blood.” The original sketch shows Man Ray chose the color burnt sienna, a reddish brown (below right) to depict the outlines of her body and the lines at the side, which is about as close to the color of real blood as one can get.

Agreed, art is subjective, as to the intent of the artist (if the artist’s intent has not been personally revealed) and the interpretation is left to each viewer. However, when taken holistically this 6th clew, (drawn in 1950, the very year that his good friend was tape-recorded by the DA/LAPD confessing to the Black Dahlia Murder and was about to be arrested and fled the country) must be considered among Man Ray’s winks and nods to his fellow surrealist’s acknowledging Dr. George Hill Hodel’s 1947 murderous masterpiece of the macabre. That is to say, Man Ray, through his own art, acknowledges George Hodel and pays homage to him as the creator of the ultimate example of Murder as a Fine Art. 
To those who might find these Man Ray links to the Sowden/Hodel residence farfetched, I here add my good friend LW’s blog comment and insight in response.
Luigi Warren 1/6/23:
“That melding of a human figure with architectural features, e.g., the battlements of a castle, crops up a few times in MR’s drawings. Other examples: Les Tours d’Eliane, Le Point Neuf and his Imaginary Portrait of D. A. F. de Sade.” -LW


  1. Dennis Effle on January 5, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    It didn’t take long for another “clew” to surface thanks to you’re dogged persistence. Murder as fine Art, indeed. Well done!

    • Steve Hodel on January 5, 2023 at 7:13 pm

      Yep, right out of the 2023 gate for sure. Happy New Year Dennis.

      • Patricia ONeill on January 6, 2023 at 12:19 pm

        And here’s to a productive ‘23 Steve! To me this further display of clews is a frightening display of the “delight” Man Ray, Copely and George Hodel had in their common interest as “Murder as a Fine Art”! Could we perhaps see a similar scenario evolving in the Idaho murders? What is the “bottom line” here in the murders you have written about.? Seriously savage hatred of women and the extent to which men (individually & as a group) will go to exhibit their hatred! As I mentioned previously, your works have not gone unnoticed. During a holiday party a young professional woman entering the field of Public Health asked me “being from California, have you heard of the Black Dahlia murder?”. My grandson, also in attendance, laughingly said “Oh Boy”!😅 To cut to the chase, this 27 year old woman pursuing her Master’s in Public Health said “people have talked about that killing (she lives in Georgia)….is it for real”? I then asked her if she was familiar with the Zodiac murders? She said “Oh sure, of course that’s for real!” I went on to inform her of your books. She said “will definitely read & pass the info along”! But, to me the most interesting part of our talk was her interest in you as the author! When I told her how (and showed her your photo from my phone) you discovered this about your father, a successful surgeon & businessman now deceased, she immediately inquired more about you & how you fared being the son of the Zodiac.. What were your occupations, family life etc. She was most interested in how GH’s future generations were coping. This is why it is SO important, Steve, that the miniseries comes out! Push it 💪! As I’ve said, educational, medical, all professions dealing with the mental health of our population need to hear not only GHH’s story but Steve Hodel’s, Tamar & Dorothy Hodel’s stories & struggles as well! It’ s far from over Steve! Could be a busy ‘23!👍

        • Steve Hodel on January 6, 2023 at 12:59 pm

          Patricia O:
          Happy New Year Patricia.
          Yes, doing my best to make this docuseries happen. Very frustrating with all the delays, But, I think you’re right. ’23 may be the year we get it done. So important for me to see it as not just another documentary. (I’ve done a dozen or so of those.) I think it is in the hands of the right producer/director. My good friend, Robb Bindler really “gets it.” Has a very strong “art background” and is quite visionary in his own right, so fingers/toes crossed that we will get to see it made THIS YEAR.

    • Steve Hodel on January 5, 2023 at 7:14 pm
    • Fauna Elizabeth on January 6, 2023 at 4:09 pm

      The lettering of is which clearly defined in “Alphabet For Adults” I feel, is the direct confirmation of whom Surrealist William Copley, has hidden Grandfather’s name, and given the way to Decipher said code, though ” Alphabet For Adults”. What so many don’t realize just how Grandfather’s mind works. Life was much like a Chess game to him. George would plan years ahead to get what he wanted. Including grooming my mother Tamar, and setting me up for my abuse as well…if you knew George personally might understand how far ahead George planned Everything he did, ” we” were his game pieces, to be moved at his will.
      It’s a very scary place be…inside my Grandfather’s mind.

      • Patricia ONeill on January 6, 2023 at 5:51 pm

        Well stated, Fauna!👍 It takes guts to “out” an abuser and doubly so when the abuser is a parent/grandparent! Hopefully you are enjoying happiness & fulfillment in a life well-earned. May you, Steve and all GHH’s progeny take a proud & deep bow for moving forward in dark dangerous waters! Here’s to seeing Steve’s hard work come to fruition with the airing of his documentary….one helluva job and kudos to the all Hodel family!🥰🌵

  2. Luigi Warren on January 6, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    That melding of a human figure with architectural features, e.g., the battlements of a castle, crops up a few times in MR’s drawings. Other examples: Les Tours d’Eliane, Le Point Neuf and his Imaginary Portrait of D. A. F. de Sade. -LW

    • Steve Hodel on January 6, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you as usual Luigi. Happy New Year.
      Will add your observations and those Man Ray artworks to original blog as a P.S.
      Best, Steve.

      • Yolanda Camacho on January 7, 2023 at 10:49 am

        Our HEALING CIRCLE sends a centering, cleansing breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ANCESTRAL HEALING. Connecting with our foreFATHERS and foreMOTHERS links us to the past and the future. Ancestral HEALING heals the wounds of past generations. The healing gives us PEACE.

        Peace always,
        Yolie 💎

  3. Richard on January 21, 2023 at 5:52 am


    The connection of Man Ray’s Art makes too much sense to be considered far fetched. Fauna’s explanation of how a man with a 187 IQ plans things meticulously and well in advance also makes a lot of sense.

  4. Jack on January 25, 2023 at 12:42 am

    Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Man Ray’s Objet de mon affection-L’Oculiste 1944 sculpture has 15 dots on the left side and 12 on the right—the 5121 address again.

    • Steve Hodel on January 25, 2023 at 9:02 am

      Excellent observation. Because the “objet” was signed/dated a year prior to GHH moving into the Sowden/Franklin House (1944) I hadn’t paid much attention and did not reflect on the holes in the Occuliste artwork. But, now that you have pointed out the numbers, one has to ask, 1) “When did GHH actually purchase the house? In ’44? 2) Could the holes have been placed in the “objet” later? After the crime in ’47 or ’48 when he gifted it to GHH? 3) What are the odds that the exact address numbers that appear and are concealed in his close friend, William Copley’s artwork, 12×15 (5121) also appear in Man Ray’s? (12×15). 4) Was Man Ray’s earlier work the source of Copley’s numbering? Certainly raises some interesting questions and food for thought. Thank You. Steve

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