The Black Dahlia
On January 15, 1947, the dismembered body of a woman was discovered in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. So surreal was the scene that the woman who discovered the body, Betty Bersinger, initially thought that she had come upon a severed mannequin. The body was completely drained of blood and had seemingly been washed. And the face had been slashed from mouth to ear.
The upper and lower parts of the body were placed a foot away from each other and were posed: The hands were placed over the head, the elbows bent, and the legs spread. The intestines were tucked under the buttocks.
After the authorities were called, the body was identified as Elizabeth Short, later known as the “Black Dahlia,” a 22-year-old aspiring actress who had been dating a married salesman.
Six days after the gruesome discovery, on January 21, the editor of the Los Angeles Examiner, James Richardson, received an anonymous call. The caller told Richardson to expect “souvenirs.”
On January 24, a curious envelope was discovered by a U.S Postal Service worker. The envelope was addressed to “The Los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers.” The letter contained Short’s birth certificate, photos, and other personal belongings.
On January 26, another letter came. It read:
“Here it is. Turning in Wed., Jan. 29, 10 am. Had my fun at police. Black Dahlia Avenger.” The note included the location where the killer would supposedly show up. The police waited patiently, but to their dismay, the killer never showed. That same day another note was sent: “Have changed my mind. You would not give me a square deal. Dahlia killing was justified.”
Over the years, the police have questioned countless suspects and self-confessed Black Dahlia killers. However, to this day, the Black Dahlia’s murderer has not been found and remains one of the most baffling unsolved murder cases in history.