Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Black Dahlia

On this day in 1947, Elizabeth Short (29 July 1924 – January 1947) disappeared. Short was a 22-year-old American woman who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Nicknamed the Black Dahlia, Short was found, severely mutilated and her body severed, on 15 January 1947 in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. The murder, which remains unsolved, has been the source of widespread speculation as well as several books and film adaptations.

Elizabeth Short was born in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. She was raised in Medford, Massachusetts, by her mother, Phoebe Mae, after her father, Cleo Short, abandoned her and her four sisters in October 1930.
According to newspaper reports shortly after the murder, Short received the nickname "Black Dahlia" at a Long Beach drugstore in the summer of 1946, as a play on the then-current movie The Blue Dahlia. However, Los Angeles County district attorney investigators' reports state the nickname was invented by newspaper reporters covering the murder. In either case, Short was not generally known as the "Black Dahlia" during her lifetime.

A number of people, none of whom knew Short in life, contacted police and the newspapers, claiming to have seen her during her so-called "missing week" between the time of her disappearance January 9 and the time her body was found on January 15. Police and district attorney investigators ruled out each of these alleged sightings, sometimes identifying other women that witnesses had mistaken for Short.

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