Sad, Sad, Sade-The Surrealists “Divine Marquis” and Publication of his Writings in 1904 “The 120 Days of Sodom or the School of Libertinage” was the Probable “Inspiration” for Many of Dr. George Hill Hodel’s Serial Murders

March 3, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
As previously referenced in my writings, it is my belief that my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel drew his “inspiration” for his serial crimes from many sources; art, literature, and films.
In drama critic, Ted Le Berthon’s 1925 article (reproduced in full below) he names George’s favorite authors/poets:
…Of course, George could have pointed to Keats, Rupert Brooke, or Stephen Crane for precedent, but…”It’s not George’s gloom, his preference for Huysmans, De Gourmont, Poe, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Hecht that pains us,” these “friends” would parry, “but his stilted elegance, his meticulous speech!”
The following article, written by drama critic, Ted Le Berthon, appeared in his weekly column “The Merry-Go-Round” in the Los Angeles Evening Herald, on December 12, 1925.  The article describes my father, George Hodel, who had just turned eighteen but was passing himself off as “twenty-one” so he could drive a taxi in downtown Los Angeles. (Le Berthon changed his name from “Hodel” to “Morel” and dad’s self-published elitist magazine Fantasia to “Whirpools.”  I quote the article here in its entirety:
Los Angeles Evening Herald
December 12, 1925
The Merry-Go-Round
By Ted Le Berthon
The Clouded Past of a Poet
GEORGE MOREL is tall, olive-skinned with wavy Black hair and a strong bold nose. His eyes are large, brown, somnolent. A romantic, hawklike fellow, a pianist, a poet, and editor of Whirlpools, a bizarre, darkly poetical quarterly.
“George is a nice boy but…”
How often did one hear that!
What his friends hinted was that George, being young, was inclined to write of melancholy things.
Of course, George could have pointed to Keats, Rupert Brooke, or Stephen Crane for precedent, but…”It’s not George’s gloom, his preference for Huysmans, De Gourmont, Poe, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Hecht that pains us,” these “friends” would parry, “but his stilted elegance, his meticulous speech!”
George drowned himself at times in an ocean of deep dreams. Only part of him seemed present. He would muse standing before one in a black, flowered dressing-gown lined with scarlet silk, oblivious to one’s presence.
Suddenly, though, his eyes would flare up like signal lights and he would say, “The formless fastidiousness of perfumes in a seventeenth-century boudoir is comparable to my mind in the presence of twilight.”
One might have answered “What of it?”- but one just didn’t.
As one of George’s “friends” put it: “He’s young. He’ll get over it. What he needs is contact with harsh realities. At present his writing is tenuous, dreamy, monotonous–and he is like his writing.”
A Future Realistic Novelist
I HADN’T seen George for about a year…
And last night, strolling up Spring street in a sort of Morelian reverie myself, I was startled by hearing a familiar voice. The next moment I saw a tall young fellow in a taxi driver’s uniform seize a burly, argumentative man by the coat lapels and growl menacingly:
“Come across with that taxi fare or I’ll smack you in the nose, right here and now!”
The speaker was GEORGE MOREL.

Drama Critic Ted LeBerthon (on left) with city Councilman Marque Neal.
(Councilman Neal was married to Jazz singer Ivie Anderson.)
120 Days of Sodom: Or The School of Libertinage

The original manuscript (above) was written by Marquis de Sade in 1785
and was found hidden in his cell in 1789 after the storming of the Bastille.
If you have a spare $3600.00 in your pocket you can obtain the “First Edition” below.

1904 First Edition For Sale $3,654.35  Listed on Abe Books 

Below is a scan from my book, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder originally published in 2003. Chapter 17, LAPD Secrets and the Marquis de Sade.
As stated in that chapter, it is my belief that my father, George Hodel would have read (possibly in the original French edition) or if not, then in a later English printing, Sade’s writings of 120 Days of Sodom. Further that Sade’s writings and “Sadistic tortures” as described in the book, were very likely one of the early “inspirations” for GHH’s many sadistic crimes inflicted on men, women, and children.
All of these criminal acts (binding of victim’s arms and legs, extended tortures, cigarette burns to bodies, strangulation, rape, and sodomy, writing words and letters on the body) as described in horrific detail in Sade’s 1904 publication, were acts committed by GHH in his many serial crimes believed to have spanned some fifty years. (1921-1969)
Interestingly, GHH’s last known crime, the murder of cab driver, Paul Stine occurred in San Francisco in 1969, the same year that the De Sade film was released to the public. The De Sade’s film U.S. release was on August 27, 1969, and Paul Stine’s execution murder occurred just six weeks later on October 11, 1969.
Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder (Arcade 2003 /HarperCollins 2004)



Ironically, George Hodel’s good friend, actor/director John Huston (who my mother had been married to for seven years, (1926-1933) prior to marrying George, played the part of “The Abbe”, debauchee-extraordinaire,  in the production, de Sade released in the U.S. in August 1969. (Talk about typecasting!)

Dr. George Hill Hodel’s good friend John Huston
plays the part of  “The Abbe” in the 1969 film, De Sade.

De Sade video trailer (age restricted) 


  1. Yolanda Camacho on March 4, 2023 at 10:28 am

    Greetings Steve!
    Our HEALING Circle sends you a cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing! At the center of your lineage, beneath the layers of generational trauma is a heart of crystalline love! Ancestral healing links us to our forefathers and foremothers! It connects us to our ancestors.

    Peace always

  2. Patricia ONeill on March 4, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    The last paragraph of “LAPD Secrets and the Marquis de Sade” page 231, sums up your years of investigations, Steve. But you can’t keep a good man down…..the books, articles, TV dramas relentlessly keep popping up👍. And perhaps the tide is turning as we see in our own local and national news this week! Alex Murdaugh in SC conviction, life in prison, our own tragedy here in Tucson, the Christopher Clements trial for the murder of Isabel Celis in 2012, a hung jury/mistrial (we Tucsonans strongly suspect who killed her……and it will be further investigated👍). In both jury deliberations they arrived at their unanimous decisions…. 3 hours for Murdaugh & 2 days for Clements👌. Keep up the momentum Steve……it will produce much needed results! And those results are not only the knowledge of who committed so many heinous murders by GHH, but warnings to multitudes of women, children and men in exposing the very attractive “baiting” these predators use to trap their victims!😔. “ Knowledge is Golden”, but the secret to success is to use that knowledge……I’M TALKING TO YOU HERE, LAW ENFORCEMENT! GET MOVING!!
    Postscript here: Steve, watch the movie “ABSOLUTE POWER” w/Clint Eastwood, made in 1997. IMO relates to a lot of what goes on within our “advanced civilizations”! 😱🌵

  3. Benoît Guillou on March 27, 2023 at 6:59 am

    Have you never made a parallel Steve between the manuscript of the Marquis de Sade which is in the form of an almost never ending roll , and the manuscript of the Beat Generation icon Jack Kerouac ” on the road ” , which is also in the form of a never ending roll ? Could it be a hidden hommage ?
    Tamar I read somewhere was very fond of the Beat Generation no ?
    The “hero” of Kerouac’s book Neal Cassady ended up beeing an integral part of the LSD movement initiated by the Merry Pranksters and a certain three letter agency …

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