Famed Surrealist Artist/Photographer Edmund Teske on the Black Dahlia Sowden/Hodel Residence; “Women were tortured for sport there. Murders happened there. It’s an Evil Place.”

October 16, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
One of George Hodel’s friends who was “in the know” (and apparently even more than that?) was photographer EDMUND TESKE. (His artwork is now prominently displayed in the Getty Museum) 
Strange that Edmund Teske and my paths never crossed during the more than three decades we both spent living in the West Hollywood hills of Laurel Canyon and on the streets of Hollywood.
My attention was directed to the surrealist artist/photographer, Edmund Teske some six years after his death and more than a decade into my father’s serial murder investigations.
It was another”happenstance” meeting as documented in Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press  2014).
On the spur of the moment, I decided to go to a luncheon in DTLA which announced the closing of the historic Clifton’s Restaurant, at 7th & Broadway. I went and met with a small group all of whom, like myself, wanted to honor the memory of the famous eatery that served so many servicemen during the WWII years.
I ordered the “Blue Plate Special”, turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes and while enjoying my meal, was approached by the organizer of the event, Steven Lamb, a residential architect from Altadena.
Steve informed me that he had read my published writings on my investigation and was confident that I had correctly identified the killer (my father) and went on to inform me of his independent confirmations and then related the story of Edmund Teske approaching him in front of the Sowden/Hodel residence back in 1978 while he (Lamb) was taking photographs of the structure.  Astounded, I asked Steve Lamb if he could fully document the meeting with Teske in a letter, which he did and which I published in the updated 2014 edition of BDA II.
The only mention of the name Teske that I had ever heard came from the former tenant/roomer, Joe Barrett.  In a conversation, I had shown the below set of childhood photos taken in the courtyard of our home, which I informed him I believed were taken by our family photographer, Man Ray.  Joe immediately corrected me by saying, “No, those pictures were taken by a photographer named Teske, a friend of your dad’s and Man Ray. I know that because I was there when he took them.”
I never gave it another thought until the name resurfaced a decade later coming from the architect, Steve Lamb at the Clifton’s cafeteria luncheon.

Architect Steven Lamb letter received in 2011:

Edmund Teske was an acquaintance of Aline Barnsdall and resided in Studio B residence in Barnsdall Park just a half-mile and a two-minute drive from the Sowden/Hodel residence. Aline Barnsdall’s residence at the park was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, father of Lloyd Wright who designed the Sowden/Hodel residence at 5121 Franklin Avenue, the actual crime location of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short and other L.A. Lone Woman murder victims.

Edmund Teske Biography 



  1. Eliza Sawyer on October 17, 2023 at 11:03 am

    Wow- I had forgotten this from the book. The threads running throughout the George Hodel story are simply incredible.

    • Steve Hodel on October 17, 2023 at 11:09 am

      Eliza S:
      Yes, very true. Really makes one wonder what exactly Teske’s involvement was with is remark “we played there” to architect Steve Lamb. We know he was a close friend to Man Ray and obviously also to George and we have him photographing us boys at the Franklin House in a familiar casual “shoot.” So many interconnected links.

      • Patricia ONeill on October 17, 2023 at 6:57 pm

        Steve, unfortunately Teske’s statement “we played there” regarding the Sowden house, (your childhood home!) is a frighteningly true description of what so many of us knew were the scary “pitfalls” one encountered living in a big metropolis……..be it NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, any big coastal cities! Oh for the safety of hometown closeness and camaraderie of a small American town😱! In varying degrees the “murder & mayhem” we experienced in Los Angeles, San Francisco are and probably always were part of all American life! Don’t know any answers on how to avoid the pitfalls everywhere! “Just stay alert” as I always told children & grandchildren! “Follow your gut feelings!” And sometimes that means “call for help, run like hell”!! 😲🌵

        • Laura on October 26, 2023 at 9:47 pm

          Almost any large community, say more than 100,000 people or so, most likely contains a coterie of dangerous, degenerate people who have the money and connections to hide their activities and escape penalties when apprehended. I have heard of them here in Chicago and in my native St. Louis. That’s why you need to be cautious when you move to a new community and are looking for friendship and love, and get to know the place and the people you meet before you get involved. However, young people in Elizabeth Short’s age bracket, their late teens and early 20s, tend to be frenetically social and far too trusting, sadly.

      • Karen on October 17, 2023 at 9:27 pm

        Madi Comfort also used the word “played” to describe her relationship with your parents.

        • Steve Hodel on October 17, 2023 at 9:56 pm

          Yes, she did. That was in reference to the three of them sharing lovemaking back in 1943-44 at the residence in South Pasadena, “with the very long driveway.” That home is now an upscale BnB.

  2. CL on November 19, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    These Hollywood pedophile & murder rings aren’t conspiracies it seems. I’ve questioned the Hollywood occult rumors, but I think it was and still is very much a part of the scene. The more I learn, the more I can’t deny it. The link to Anton Levey and many in Hollywood is disturbing. A thread of darkness runs through it all. Teske reminds me of a warlock or wizard in his old age. By pointing out the evil that surrounded the house, I have to wonder if he was feeling some remorse as he spoke to Steve? I’d say probably not much or he would’ve confessed and paid the price for his crimes. I’m Catholic so am always thinking about the afterlife & find it hard to understand others who have no guilt for their diabolical deeds.

Leave a Comment