Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cardinal Sins: Legendary ‘Black Dahlia’ murder remains unsolved

By Bryn Fawn

Murder is gruesome, bloody and vicious. It’s difficult to do, and even more difficult to get away with. How could someone deposit a body, with not a drop of blood in sight, and be a freeman for 76 years?

Many cases remain cold, unsolved, but not as many are as infamous as the case of “Black Dahlia.” The FBI has had the investigation on record since 1947. A naked woman was found by a mother in a public park in Los Angeles, where she originally perceived the corpse as a mannequin.

The woman was later identified as Elizabeth Short. Short had traveled to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a break-out star. Instead her face was plastered in the news as a murder victim. She was 22 years old, and her case became nicknamed “Black Dahlia” due to her nature to dress in black, and the popular movie that had been released at the time, “Blue Dahlia.”

This murder took place in a time where having a trail was difficult. Short had two different occurrences in the FBI’s database, one for applying to be a clerk and another for an arrest. Her mug shot from the arrest was used in papers to spread word of the crime.

Investigators suspect that the killer had medical education, due to the surgeon-like precision of the cuts on the body. Short had been dissected like a science project. No blood was found at the scene, meaning her body had been dumped there and killed somewhere else. 

Short’s body was cut at the waist, in half. The killer also sliced Short’s face at the corners of her mouth, giving her the “Joker smile,” reminiscent of the pop culture Batman character “The Joker.” Sections of her skin were removed. She had sustained cuts and bruises on her breasts and thighs. 

An autopsy revealed that her cause of death was ultimately due to lacerations and an hemorrhage from blunt trauma to her face.

Quickly after police began the investigation, over 50 different individuals approached the police, claiming to be the killer. Police had suspects, but ultimately not enough evidence to ever make an arrest. Several theories have since been formulated over the years, connecting Short’s sudden demise to other killings like the Cleveland Torso Murders or the Lipstick Murders. 

Short’s story has become something like a legend. Due to the passage of time, the thought of catching the killer is nothing more than a memory. “Black Dahlia” is now often just a story told, and has even been featured on the internet sensation “Buzzfeed Unsolved.” It was later turned into a movie itself in 2006, with the title “Black Dahlia.”

The FBI page on Short even ends with “The legend grows…” as if this murder was nothing more than a fairy tale.

Short was a person, with hopes and dreams. Short was like any one of us, wanting to make it big, but also tried to work and even had a run-in with the law. Short liked to dress in black, like many other women today. Some suspected Short to be a working girl, but there was no evidence to support this.

Short’s life was snuffed out before it had even really begun.

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