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Black Dahlia

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Written on 3:07 AM by Mrudula

Elizabeth Ann Short was an American woman who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Nicknamed the Black Dahlia, Short was found severely mutilated, with her body severed, on January 15, 1947 in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. The murder, which remains unsolved, has been the source of widespread speculation as well as several books and film adaptations.

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.

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.

For over 50 years, the murder of the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, captivated the interest of virtually everyone familiar with the case. Within this site are the details of the life of Elizabeth Short and her gruesome and premature death. Through the deciphering of clues intentionally left by her killer, the Black Dahlia's murderer is revealed, along with his twisted motives and methods.

The story of the unemployed 22-year-old waitress has inspired dozens of books, Web sites, a video game and even an Australian swing band. The quest to pinpoint her killer has become a hobby for generations of armchair detectives. And this fall, Hollywood will recast her tragic plight in a star-studded Black Dahlia movie.

The Los Angeles Police Department has all but given up hope of ever closing the Dahlia case; the department has more urgent crimes to investigate, and the killer has likely been dead for years. Yet, it is precisely the unsolved status of Elizabeth Short's murder that gives it such an enduring allure.

We need to emphasize here that the case is so cold, the information so musty and bungled, that it's difficult to get a lucid picture of Elizabeth Short's brief life, much less her grisly death. The Crime Library will not attempt to solve the Black Dahlia murder in these pages, but to simply relate Short's story based on the most unbiased, accepted facts available, including historical newspaper articles and law enforcement records, as well as contemporary literature.

- Munnu

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