Los Angeles January
At about 10:30 a.m., Betty B. Mono went for a stroll in the cool winter sunshine.
She soon was walking along a dreary, weedy block without a house on either side.
Halfway down the block, Betty Mono spotted Betty S. Duo just off the sidewalk,
in dewy-wet weeds. Betty Duo was leeringly emerging from five missing days in
waisted shape, much the worse for wear. Wobbly Betty Mono went to the
nearest available phone and called the police. Something strange and wicked was
about to haunt LAPD case-files safes...
LAPD rolled hard and fast...and ran into a stony blank wall.
January 1947 was orientation
time for the entire country. The Big War was over, the boys were still
coming home, and America was cycling back to a peacetime economy. Urbanization
and social change had begun, but Americans had seen nothing yet. At the
hub of it all would be Southern California, LA in particular...
Los Angeles and its environs were in the dawning stages
of growth which would culminate in a sprawling megalopolis. Scrub brush
and orange groves in southern LA County were surrendering to housing tracts.
Coyotes and buzzards of the spacious San Fernando Valley were relinquishing
virgin brushland to "sunshine mushrooms." The Hollywood Freeway
was just around the corner. Red trolley cars of Pacific Electric would
soon yield to busses. Jack Benny had quit joking about the smog in Cucamonga-it
was no longer funny.
Elizabeth Short hailed from Medford, Massachusetts. She
quit school at age 16 and became a drifter. During the last four years
of her life, she floated from Massachusetts through California, through
Florida through Indiana, and into Chicago where she boarded a train and
rode to the Union Pacific station in Los Angeles. Soon after her 1946 arrival
in LA, Elizabeth was tagged "the Black Dahlia." Her moniker was
earned because of her raven locks, penchant for wearing black, intriguingly
obsessive behavior and the release of Raymond Chandler's The Blue Dahlia as
a motion picture.
Union Pacific Railroad
The Black Dahlia murder has been a baffler. It is the most
infamous unresolved homicide in LAPD history. But the solution to the Dahlia
murder has been "there" for LAPD Homicide and the LA public
for more than a half-century. This is a paradox with a simple explanation:
the solution was shrouded in black symbolism, abstruse encryption, plus
a plethora of reportage.
Once the Dahlia murder was recognized as a monstrous mimetism,
the murderer's cryptograms were deciphered and the riddle of the murder
Pacific Electric red car, "Big Red" (LAPL)
Before we get to the murder solution, let's get oriented via a tiny
dose of the nonpareil murder . . .
On a sunny winter morning in 1947, the bisected,
nude body of a once-gorgeous young woman was discovered in a big vacant
lot in south-central Los Angeles. It was as blackly mind-blowing as any
exhibit in a Madame Tussaud horror museum. The Black Dahlia was born to
By mid-March 1947 the Dahlia Reportathon had run its course, the newsfest was
dead. Bob Manley's adios at the Biltmore Hotel was the outside world's farewell
salute to the living. It was as if the Dahlia had left the Biltmore and drifted
into a mysterious vortex that swallowed her up, then spat her out six days later
as an unrecognizable grotesquery. And dogged LAPD sleuthhounds were ostensibly
without a solid Dahlia-case suspect or clue . . .
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