Doughnuts: It Really Does Happen!
The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s 2019 Best Days by Activity! Find out when to start a diet to lose weight, cut hair to increase growth, plant vegetables, quit smoking, lose weight, wean, mow grass to slow growth, and more activities, based on the Moon’s sign.
To determine the Best Days, we look at several factors, including the position of the Moon in the 12 signs of the Zodiac, as well as the lunar phase. Planetary relationshipsmay also be considered. When positions and/or phases are suitable, tradition says that activities are more likely to yield favorable results.
|begin diet to gain weight||Jan 16, Feb 7, Feb 12, Mar 7, Mar 11|
|begin diet to lose weight||Jan 24, Feb 20, Feb 25, Mar 24, Mar 29|
|begin logging||Feb 1, Feb 2, Feb 28, Mar 1, Mar 2|
|breed animals||Jan 27, Jan 28, Feb 23, Feb 24, Feb 25|
|can, pickle, or make sauerkraut||Jan 27, Jan 28, Feb 23, Feb 24, Feb 25|
|castrate animals||Feb 3, Feb 4, Feb 5, Mar 3, Mar 4|
|cut hair to discourage growth||Jan 25, Jan 26, Feb 21, Feb 22, Mar 5|
|cut hair to encourage growth||Jan 16, Feb 11, Feb 12, Mar 10, Mar 11|
|cut hay||Feb 8, Feb 9, Feb 10, Mar 8, Mar 9|
|destroy pests and weeds||Feb 8, Feb 9, Feb 10, Mar 8, Mar 9|
|end projects||Feb 3, Mar 5, Apr 4, May 3, Jun 2|
|go camping||Feb 26, Feb 27, Mar 25, Mar 26, Apr 21|
|graft or pollinate||Jan 19, Jan 20, Feb 15, Feb 16, Mar 15|
|harvest aboveground crops||Jan 16, Feb 11, Feb 12, Mar 10, Mar 11|
|harvest belowground crops||Jan 23, Jan 24, Feb 1, Feb 2, Feb 28|
|have dental care||Jan 23, Jan 24, Feb 19, Feb 20, Mar 19|
|plant aboveground crops||Jan 19, Jan 20, Feb 15, Feb 16, Mar 15|
|plant belowground crops||Jan 27, Jan 28, Feb 23, Feb 24, Feb 25|
|prune to discourage growth||Jan 29, Jan 30, Jan 31, Feb 26, Feb 27|
|prune to encourage growth||Feb 8, Feb 9, Feb 10, Mar 8, Mar 9|
|quit smoking||Jan 24, Feb 20, Feb 25, Mar 24, Mar 29|
|set posts or pour concrete||Feb 1, Feb 2, Feb 28, Mar 1, Mar 2|
|slaughter livestock||Jan 27, Jan 28, Feb 23, Feb 24, Feb 25|
|start projects||Feb 5, Mar 7, Apr 6, May 5, Jun 4|
|wean animals or children||Jan 24, Feb 20, Feb 25, Mar 24, Mar 29|
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
The Old Farmer’s Almanac daily calendar gives you quick reference for the significant events on any day throughout the year.
1559: ELIZABETH I OF ENGLAND WAS CROWNED IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
BORN 1622: MOLIÈRE (DRAMATIST)
BORN 1716: PHILIP LIVINGSTON (PATRIOT, AND SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE)
1777: VERMONT DECLARES ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM GREAT BRITAIN AND THE COLONY OF NEW YORK AS A REPUBLIC ORIGINALLY CALLED NEW CONNECTICUT
1795: THE UNIVERSITY OF N.C., THE FIRST STATE UNIVERSITY IN THE US, OPENS
BORN 1841: THE EARL OF DERBY, LORD STANLEY (CANADIAN GOVERNOR GENERAL 1888 – 1893)
1861: E. G. OTIS RECEIVED A PATENT FOR AN ELEVATOR SAFETY BRAKE
DIED 1896: MATHEW BRADY (PHOTOGRAPHER)
BORN 1899: GOODMAN ACE (RADIO PERFORMER)
BORN 1909: GENE KRUPA (DRUMMER)
BORN 1913: LLOYD BRIDGES (ACTOR)
1919: GREAT MOLASSES FLOOD, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS100 Years Ago
BORN 1929: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER)
BORN 1933: ERNEST J. GAINES (NOVELIST)
1936: FORD FOUNDATION IS INCORPORATED TO ADMINISTER FUNDS FOR SCIENTIFIC, EDUCATIONAL AND CHARITABLE PURPOSES
1936: FIRST U.S. ALL-GLASS WINDOWLESS STRUCTURE COMPLETED, IN TOLEDO, OHIO
1939: FIRST PRO BOWL GAME IN NFL HISTORY IS PLAYED IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
1943: THE PENTAGON BUILDING IN VIRGINIA IS COMPLETED
1949: FIRST NONSTOP TRANS-CANADA FLIGHT COMPLETED
BORN 1957: ANDRÉ ALEXIS (WRITER)
1967: THE GREEN BAY PACKERS DEFEATED THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS IN SUPER BOWL I
BORN 1968: CHAD LOWE (ACTOR)
BORN 1971: REGINA KING (ACTRESS)
1974: HAPPY DAYS MADE ITS TELEVISION DEBUT
BORN 1981: HOWIE DAY (SINGER)
DIED 1987: RAY BOLGER (ACTOR)
DIED 2005: RUTH WARRICK (ACTRESS)
DIED 2007: PERCY SALTZMAN (FIRST METEOROLOGIST TO APPEAR ON CANADIAN TELEVISION)
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Suminuri Matsuri is a New Year tradition observed for more than half a millennium in a district of Matsunoyama, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. People adorn their homes and streets with decorations made of paper, tree branches, and bamboo for Oshogatsu, New Year’s Day. After the holiday they take down the decorations and burn them, keeping the ashes for the Suminuri Festival. People take their ashes outside and mix them with some snow, then rub the concoction on each other’s faces for luck in the new year.
Elizabeth Short (July 29, 1924 – January 14 or 15, 1947), known posthumously as the “Black Dahlia”, was an American woman who was found murdered in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Her case became highly publicized due to the graphic nature of the crime, which included her corpse having been mutilated and bisected at the waist.
A native of Boston, Short spent her early life in Massachusetts and Florida before relocating to California, where her father lived. It is commonly held that Short was an aspiring actress, though she had no known acting credits or jobs during her time in Los Angeles. She would acquire the nickname of the Black Dahlia posthumously (after the owner of a drugstore in Long Beach, California told reporters that male customers had that name for her), as newspapers of the period often nicknamed particularly lurid crimes; the term may have originated from a film noir murder mystery, The Blue Dahlia, released in April 1946. After the discovery of her body on January 15, 1947, the Los Angeles Police Department began an extensive investigation that produced over 150 suspects, but yielded no arrests.
Short’s unsolved murder and the details surrounding it have had a lasting cultural intrigue, generating various theories and public speculation. Her life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, and her murder is frequently cited as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, as well as one of the oldest unsolved cases in Los Angeles County. It has likewise been credited by historians as one of the first major crimes in post-World War II America to capture national attention.[a]
Elizabeth Short[b] was born in the Hyde Park section of Boston, Massachusetts, the third of five daughters of Cleo and Phoebe May Short (née Sawyer). Around 1927, the Short family relocated to Portland, Maine, but eventually settled in Medford, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, where Short was raised. Short’s father Cleo built miniature golf courses until the 1929 stock market crash, when he lost most of his savings and the family became broke. In 1930, Cleo’s car was found abandoned on the Charlestown Bridge, and it was assumed that he had committed suicide by jumping into the Charles River. Believing her husband to be deceased, Phoebe moved with her five daughters into a small apartment in Medford and worked as a bookkeeper to support them.
Troubled by bronchitis and severe asthma attacks, Short underwent lung surgery at age 15, after which doctors suggested she relocate to a milder climate during the winter months to prevent further respiratory problems. Short’s mother then sent her to spend winters in Miami, Florida with family friends. During the next three years, Short lived in Florida during the winter months and spent the rest of the year in Medford with her mother and sisters. In her sophomore year, Short dropped out of Medford High School.
Relocation to California
Major Matthew Michael Gordon, Jr.
In late 1942, Phoebe received a letter of apology from her presumed-deceased husband, which revealed that he was in fact alive and had started a new life in California. In December, at age 18, Elizabeth relocated to Vallejo to live with her father, whom she had not seen since she was six years old. At the time, he was working at the nearby Mare Island Naval Shipyard on San Francisco Bay. Arguments between Short and her father led to her moving out in January 1943. Shortly after, she took a job at the Base Exchange at Camp Cooke (now Vandenberg Air Force Base), near Lompoc, living with several friends, and briefly with an Army Air Force sergeant who reportedly abused her. Short left Lompoc in mid-1943 and moved to Santa Barbara, where she was arrested on September 23, 1943 for underage drinking at a local bar. The juvenile authorities sent her back to Medford,[c] but she returned instead to Florida, making only occasional visits to Massachusetts.
While in Florida, Short met Major Matthew Michael Gordon, Jr., a decorated Army Air Force officer at the 2nd Air Commando Group. He was training for deployment to the China Burma India Theater of Operations of World War II. Short told friends that Gordon had written to propose marriage while he was recovering from injuries from a plane crash in India. She accepted his offer, but Gordon died in a second crash on August 10, 1945, less than a week before the Surrender of Japan ended the war.
She relocated to Los Angeles in July 1946 to visit Army Air Force Lieutenant Joseph Gordon Fickling, whom she had known from Florida. Fickling was stationed at the Naval Reserve Air Base in Long Beach. Short spent the last six months of her life in Southern California, mostly in the Los Angeles area; shortly before her death, she had been working as a waitress, and rented a room behind the Florentine Gardens nightclub on Hollywood Boulevard. Short has been variously described and depicted as an aspiring or “would-be” actress. According to some sources, she did in fact have aspirations to be a film star, though she had no known acting jobs or credits.[d]
Prior to murder
On January 9, 1947, Short returned to her home in Los Angeles after a brief trip to San Diego with Robert “Red” Manley, a 25-year-old married salesman she had been dating. Manley stated that he dropped Short off at the Biltmore Hotel located at 506 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, and that Short was to meet her sister, who was visiting from Boston, that afternoon. By some accounts, staff of the Biltmore recalled having seen Short using the lobby telephone.[e] Shortly after, she was allegedly seen by patrons of the Crown Grill Cocktail Lounge at 754 South Olive Street, approximately 1⁄2 mile (0.80 km) away from the Biltmore Hotel.
On the morning of January 15, 1947, Short’s naked body was found severed in two pieces on a vacant lot on the west side of South Norton Avenue, midway between Coliseum Street and West 39th Street (at 34.0164°N 118.333°W) in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. At the time, the neighborhood was largely undeveloped. Local resident Betty Bersinger discovered the body at approximately 10:00 a.m. while she was walking with her three-year-old daughter. Bersinger initially thought she had found a discarded store mannequin. When she realized it was a corpse, she rushed to a nearby house and telephoned the police.
Short’s severely mutilated body was completely severed at the waist and drained entirely of blood, leaving its skin a pallid white. Medical examiners determined that she had been dead for around ten hours prior to the discovery, leaving her time of death either sometime during the evening of January 14, or the early morning hours of January 15. The body had obviously been washed by the killer. Short’s face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating an effect known as the “Glasgow smile”. She had several cuts on her thigh and breasts, where entire portions of flesh had been sliced away. The lower half of her body was positioned a foot away from the upper, and her intestines had been tucked neatly beneath her buttocks. The corpse had been “posed”, with her hands over her head, her elbows bent at right angles, and her legs spread apart.
Upon the discovery, a crowd of both passersby and reporters began to gather; Los Angeles Herald-Express reporter Aggie Underwood was among the first to arrive at the scene, and took several photos of the corpse and crime scene. Near the body, detectives located a heel print on the ground amid the tire tracks, and a cement sack containing watery blood was also found nearby.
Autopsy and identification
An autopsy of Short’s body was performed on January 16, 1947, by Dr. Frederick Newbarr, the Los Angeles County coroner. Newbarr’s autopsy report stated that Short was 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall, weighed 115 pounds (52 kg), and had light blue eyes, brown hair, and badly decayed teeth.[f] There were ligature marks on her ankles, wrists, and neck, and an “irregular laceration with superficial tissue loss” on her right breast. Newbarr also noted superficial lacerations on the right forearm, left upper arm, and the lower left side of the chest.
The body had been cut completely in half by a technique taught in the 1930’s called a hemicorporectomy. The lower half of her body had been removed by transecting the lumbar spine between the second and third lumbar vertebrae, thus severing the intestine at the duodenum. Newbarr’s report noted “very little” ecchymosis (bruising) along the incision line, suggesting it had been performed after death. Another “gaping laceration” measuring 4.25 inches (108 mm) in length ran longitudinally from the umbilicus to the suprapubic region. The lacerations on each side of the face, which extended from the corners of the lips, were measured at 3 inches (76 mm) on the right side of the face, and 2.5 inches (64 mm) on the left. The skull was not fractured, but there was noted bruising on the front and right side of her scalp, with a small amount of bleeding in the subarachnoid space on the right side, consistent with blows to the head. The cause of death was determined to be hemorrhaging from the lacerations to her face and the shock from blows on the head and face. Newbarr noted that Short’s anal canal was dilated at 1.75 inches (44 mm), suggesting that she may have been raped. Samples were taken from her body testing for the presence of sperm, but the results came back negative.
Prior to the autopsy, police had quickly been able to identify the victim as Short after sending copies of her fingerprints to Washington, D.C. via Soundphoto, a primitive fax machine of the era; the prints matched those given by Short during her 1943 arrest. Immediately following Short’s identification, reporters from William Randolph Hearst’s Los Angeles Examiner contacted her mother, Phoebe Short, in Boston, and told her that her daughter had won a beauty contest. It was only after prying as much personal information as they could from Phoebe that the reporters revealed that her daughter had in fact been murdered. The newspaper offered to pay her airfare and accommodations if she would travel to Los Angeles to help with the police investigation. That was yet another ploy since the newspaper kept her away from police and other reporters to protect its scoop. The Examiner and another Hearst newspaper, the Los Angeles Herald-Express, later sensationalized the case, with one article from the Examiner describing the black tailored suit Short was last seen wearing as “a tight skirt and a sheer blouse”. The media nicknamed her as the “Black Dahlia” and described her as an “adventuress” who “prowled Hollywood Boulevard”. Additional newspaper reports, such as one published in the Los Angeles Times on January 17, deemed the murder a “sex fiend slaying”.
On January 21, 1947, a person claiming to be Short’s killer placed a phone call to the office of James Richardson, the editor of the Examiner, congratulating Richardson on the newspaper’s coverage of the case, and stated he planned on eventually turning himself in, but not before allowing police to pursue him further. Additionally, the caller told Richardson to “expect some souvenirs of Beth Short in the mail”.
On January 24, a suspicious manila envelope was discovered by a U.S. Postal Service worker: The envelope had been addressed to “The Los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers” with individual words that had been cut-and-pasted from newspaper clippings; additionally, a large message on the face of the envelope read: “Here is Dahlia’s belongings [,] letter to follow”. The envelope contained Short’s birth certificate, business cards, photographs, names written on pieces of paper, and an address book with the name Mark Hansen embossed on the cover. The packet had been carefully cleaned with gasoline, similarly to Short’s body, which led police to suspect the packet had been sent directly by her killer. Despite the efforts to clean the packet, several partial fingerprints were lifted from the envelope and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for testing; however, the prints were compromised in transit and thus could not be properly analyzed. The same day the packet was received by the Examiner, a handbag and a black suede shoe were reported to have been seen on top of a garbage can in an alley a short distance from Norton Avenue, 2 miles (3.2 km) from where Short’s body had been discovered. The items were recovered by police, but they had also been wiped clean with gasoline, destroying any fingerprints.
Police quickly deemed Mark Hansen, the owner of the address book found in the packet, a suspect. Hansen was a wealthy local nightclub and theater owner and an acquaintance at whose home Short had stayed with friends, and according to some sources,[g] he also confirmed that the purse and shoe discovered in the alley were in fact Short’s. Ann Toth, Short’s friend and roommate, told investigators that Short had recently rejected sexual advances from Hansen, and suggested it as potential cause for him to kill her; however, he was cleared of suspicion in the case. In addition to Hansen, the Los Angeles Police Department interviewed over 150 men in the ensuing weeks whom they believed to be potential suspects. Manley, who had been one of the last people to see Short alive, was also investigated, but was cleared of suspicion after passing numerous polygraph examinations. Police also interviewed several persons found listed in Hansen’s address book, including Martin Lewis, who had been an acquaintance of Short’s. Lewis was able to provide an alibi for the date of Short’s murder, as he was in Portland, Oregon visiting his father-in-law, who was dying of kidney failure.
A total of 750 investigators from the LAPD and other departments worked on the case during its initial stages, including 400 sheriff’s deputies and 250 California State Patrol officers. Various locations were searched for potential evidence, including storm drains throughout Los Angeles, abandoned structures, and various sites along the Los Angeles River, but the searches yielded no further evidence. City Councilman Lloyd G. Davis posted a $10,000 (equivalent to $112,206 in 2018) reward for information leading police to Short’s killer. After the announcement of the reward, various persons came forward with confessions, most of which police dismissed as false. Several of the false confessors were charged with obstruction of justice.
On January 26, another letter was received by the Examiner, this time handwritten, which read: “Here it is. Turning in Wed., Jan. 29, 10 am. Had my fun at police. Black Dahlia Avenger”. The letter also named a location at which the supposed killer would turn himself in. Police waited at the location on the morning of January 29, but the alleged killer did not appear. Instead, at 1:00pm, the Examiner offices received another cut-and-pasted letter, which read: “Have changed my mind. You would not give me a square deal. Dahlia killing was justified.”
The graphic nature of the crime and the subsequent letters received by the Examiner had resulted in a media frenzy surrounding Short’s murder. Both local and national publications covered the story heavily, many of which reprinted sensationalistic reports suggesting that Short had been tortured for hours prior to her death; the information, however, was false, yet police allowed the reports to circulate so as to conceal Short’s true cause of death—cerebral hemorrhage—from the public. Further reports about Short’s personal life were publicized, including details about her alleged declining of Hansen’s romantic advances; additionally, a stripper who was an acquaintance of Short’s told police that she “liked to get guys worked up over her, but she’d leave them hanging dry.” This led some reporters (namely the Herald-Express’s Bevo Means) and detectives to look into the possibility that Short was a lesbian, and begin questioning employees and patrons of gay bars in Los Angeles; this claim, however, remained unsubstantiated. The Herald-Express also received several letters from the purported killer, again made with cut-and-pasted clippings, one of which read: “I will give up on Dahlia killing if I get 10 years. Don’t try to find me.”
On February 1, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that the case had “run into a Stone Wall”, with no new leads for investigators to pursue. The Examiner continued to run stories on the murder and the investigation, which was front-page news for 35 days following the discovery of the body. When interviewed, lead investigator Captain Jack Donahue told the press that he believed Short’s murder had taken place in a remote building or shack on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and her body transported into the city where it was disposed of. Based on the precise cuts and dissection of Short’s corpse, the LAPD looked into the possibility that the murderer may have been a surgeon, doctor, or someone with medical knowledge. In mid-February 1947, the LAPD served a warrant to the University of Southern California Medical School, which was located near the site where Short’s body had been discovered, requesting a complete list of the program’s students. The university agreed so long as the students’ identities remained private, and background checks were conducted, but they yielded no results.
Grand jury and aftermath
No lead had any conclusions. Once we’d find something, it seemed to disappear in front of our eyes.
—Sgt. Finis Brown, on the various dead ends in the case.
By the spring of 1947, Short’s murder had become a cold case with few new leads. Sergeant Finis Brown, one of the lead detectives on the case, blamed the press for compromising the investigation through reporters’ probing of details and unverified reporting. In September 1949, a grand jury convened to discuss inadequacies in the LAPD’s homicide unit based on their failure to solve numerous murders—especially those of women and children—in the past several years, Short’s being one of them. In the aftermath of the grand jury, further investigation was done on Short’s past, with detectives tracing her movements between Massachusetts, California, and Florida, and also interviewed people who knew her in Texas and New Orleans. However, the interviews yielded no useful information in the murder.
Suspects and confessions
The notoriety of Short’s murder has spurred a large number of confessions over the years, many of which have been deemed false. During the initial investigation into her murder, police received a total of 60 confessions, most made by men. Since that time, over 500 people have confessed to the crime, some of whom had not even been born at the time of her death. Sergeant John P. St. John, a detective who worked the case until his retirement, stated, “It is amazing how many people offer up a relative as the killer.”
In 2003, Ralph Asdel, one of the original detectives on the case, told the Times that he believed he had interviewed Short’s killer, a man who had been seen with his sedan parked near the vacant lot where her body was discovered in the early morning hours of January 15, 1947. A neighbor driving by that day stopped to dispose of a bag of lawn clippings in the vacant lot when he saw a parked sedan, allegedly with its right rear door open; the driver of the sedan was standing in the lot. His arrival apparently startled the owner of the sedan, who approached his car and peered in the window before returning to the sedan and driving away. The owner of the sedan was followed to a local restaurant where he worked, but was ultimately cleared of suspicion.
Suspects remaining under discussion by various authors and experts include a doctor named Walter Bayley, proposed by the former Times copyeditor Larry Harnisch; Times publisher Norman Chandler, whom biographer Donald Wolfe claims impregnated Short; Leslie Dillon, Joseph A. Dumais, Artie Lane (a.k.a. Jeff Connors), Mark Hansen, Dr. Francis E. Sweeney, George Hill Hodel, Hodel’s friend Fred Sexton, George Knowlton, Robert M. “Red” Manley, Patrick S. O’Reilly, and Jack Anderson Wilson.
Theories and potentially related crimes
Police search for remains in the Cleveland Torso Murders, 1936; some journalists and law enforcement have speculated a connection between the Cleveland crimes and Short’s murder[h]
Several crime authors, as well as Cleveland detective Peter Merylo, have suspected a link between the Short murder and the Cleveland Torso Murders, which took place in Cleveland, Ohio between 1934 and 1938. As part of their investigation into other murders that took place before and after the Short killing, the original LAPD investigators studied the Torso Murders in 1947 but later discounted any relationship between the two cases. In 1980, new evidence implicating a former Torso Murder suspect, Jack Anderson Wilson (a.k.a. Arnold Smith), was investigated by Detective St. John in relation to Short’s murder. He claimed he was close to arresting Wilson for Short’s murder, but that Wilson died in a fire on February 4, 1982. The possible connection between Short’s murder and the Torso Murders received renewed media attention when it was profiled on the NBC series Unsolved Mysteries in 1992, in which Eliot Ness biographer Oscar Fraley suggested Ness knew the identity of the killer responsible for both cases.
The February 10, 1947 murder of Jeanne French in Los Angeles was also considered by the media and detectives as possibly being connected to Short’s killing. French’s body was discovered in west Los Angeles on Grand View Boulevard, nude and badly beaten. Written on her stomach in lipstick was what appeared to say “Fuck You B.D.”, and the letters “TEX” below. The Herald-Express covered the story heavily, and drew comparisons to the Short murder less than a month prior, surmising the initials “B.D.” to stand for “Black Dahlia”. According to historian Jon Lewis, however, the scrawling actually read “P.D.”, ostensibly standing for “police department”.
Crime authors such as Steve Hodel (son of George Hill Hodel) and William Rasmussen have suggested a link between the Short murder and the 1946 murder and dismemberment of six-year-old Suzanne Degnan in Chicago, Illinois. Captain Donahoe of the LAPD stated publicly that he believed the Black Dahlia and the Chicago Lipstick Murders were “likely connected”. Among the evidence cited is the fact that Short’s body was found on Norton Avenue, three blocks west of Degnan Boulevard, Degnan being the last name of the girl from Chicago. There were also striking similarities between the handwriting on the Degnan ransom note and that of the “Black Dahlia Avenger”. Both texts used a combination of capitals and small letters (the Degnan note read in part “BuRN This FoR heR SAfTY” [sic]), and both notes contain a similar misshapen letter P and have one word that matches exactly. Convicted serial killer William Heirens served life in prison for Degnan’s murder. Initially arrested at 17 for breaking into a residence close to that of Degnan, Heirens claimed he was tortured by police, forced to confess, and made a scapegoat for the murder. After being taken from the medical infirmary at the Dixon Correctional Center on February 26, 2012 for health problems, Heirens died at the University of Illinois Medical Center on March 5, 2012, at 83.
Additionally, Steve Hodel has implicated his father, George Hodel, as Short’s killer, citing his father’s training as a surgeon as circumstantial evidence. In 2003, it was revealed in notes from the 1949 grand jury report that investigators had wiretapped Hodel’s home, and obtained recorded conversation of him with an unidentified visitor, saying: “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary because she’s dead.”
In 1991, Janice Knowlton, a woman who was ten years old at the time of Short’s murder, claimed that she witnessed her father, George Knowlton, beat Short to death with a clawhammer in the detached garage of her family’s home in Westminster. She also published a book titled Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer in 1995, in which she made additional claims that her father sexually molested her. The book was condemned as “trash” by Knowlton’s stepsister Jolane Emerson in 2004, who stated: “She believed it, but it wasn’t reality. I know, because I lived with her father for sixteen years.” Additionally, Detective St. John told the Times that Knowlton’s claims were “not consistent with the facts of the case”.
John Gilmore’s 1994 book Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder, suggests a possible connection between Short’s murder and that of Georgette Bauerdorf, a socialite who was strangled to death in her West Hollywood home in 1944. Gilmore suggests that Short’s employment at the Hollywood Canteen, where Bauerdorf also worked as a hostess, could be a potential connection between the two women. However, the claim that Short ever worked at the Hollywood Canteen has been disputed by others, such as the retired Times copyeditor Larry Harnisch (see Rumors and factual disputes).
The 2017 book Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Eatwell focuses on Leslie Dillon, a bellhop who was a former mortician’s assistant; his associates Mark Hansen and Jeff Connors; and Sergeant Finis Brown, a lead detective who had links to Hansen and was allegedly corrupt. Eatwell posits that Short was murdered because she knew too much about the men’s involvement in a scheme for robbing hotels. She further suggests that Short was killed at the Aster Motel in Los Angeles, where the owners reported finding one of their rooms “covered in blood and fecal matter” on the morning Short’s body was found. The Examiner stated in 1949 that LA Police Chief WIlliam A. Worton denied that the Flower Street [Aster] Motel had anything to do with the case, although its rival newspaper, the Los Angeles Herald, claimed that the murder took place there. Eatwell is working on a television documentary, and a revised edition of her book is due to be released in the autumn of 2018.
In 2000, Buz Williams, a retired detective with the Long Beach Police Department, wrote an article for the LBPD newsletter The Rap Sheet on Short’s murder. Williams’ father, Richard F. Williams, and his friend, Con Keller, were both members of LA’s Gangster Squad investigating the case. Williams Sr believed that Dillon was the killer, and that when Dillon returned to his home state of Oklahoma, he was able to avoid extradition to California because his ex-wife Georgia Stevenson was second cousins with Governor Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, who contacted the governor of Oklahoma on Dillon’s behalf. Keller believed Hansen was the killer, as he had studied at a surgical school in Sweden and had thrown elaborate parties attended by prominent LAPD officials. Williams’ article says that Dillon sued the LAPD for $3 million, but that the suit was dropped. Harnisch disputes this, claiming that Dillon was cleared by police after an exhaustive investigation, and that the District Attorney’s files positively placed him in San Francisco when Short was killed. Harnisch claims that there was no LAPD coverup, and that Dillon did in fact receive a financial settlement from the City of Los Angeles, but has not produced concrete evidence to prove this.
Rumors and factual disputes
Numerous details regarding Short’s personal life and death have been points of public dispute.[i] The eager involvement of both the public and press in solving her murder have been credited as factors that complicated the investigation significantly, resulting in a complex, sometimes inconsistent narrative of events. According to Anne Marie DiStefano of the Portland Tribune, many “unsubstantiated stories” have circulated about Short over the years: “She was a prostitute, she was frigid, she was pregnant, she was a lesbian. And somehow, instead of fading away over time, the legend of the Black Dahlia just keeps getting more convoluted.” Harnisch has refuted several supposed rumors and popular conceptions about Short and her murder and also disputed the validity of Gilmore’s book Severed, claiming the book is “25% mistakes, and 50% fiction”. Harnisch also had examined the district attorney’s files (he claimed that Steve Hodel has examined some of them pertaining to his father, along with Times columnist Steve Lopez) and contrary to Eatwell’s claims, the files showed that Dillon was thoroughly investigated and was determined to have been in San Francisco when Short was killed. Harnisch speculated that Eatwell either did not find these files or she chose to ignore them.
Murder and state of the body
A number of people, none of whom knew Short, contacted police and the newspapers and claimed to have seen her during her so-called “missing week”, between her January 9 disappearance and the discovery of her body, on January 15. Police and DA investigators ruled out each alleged sighting; in some cases, those interviewed were identifying other women whom they had mistaken for Short. Short’s whereabouts in the days leading up to her murder and the discovery of her body are unknown.
After the discovery of Short’s body, numerous Los Angeles newspapers printed headlines claiming she had been tortured leading up to her death. This was denied by law enforcement at the time, but they allowed the claims to circulate so as to keep Short’s actual cause of death a secret from the public. Some sources, such as Oliver Cyriax’s Crime: An Encyclopedia (1993), state that Short’s body was covered in cigarette burns inflicted on her while she was still alive, though there is no indication of this in her official autopsy report.
In Severed, Gilmore states that the coroner who performed Short’s autopsy suggested in conversation that she had been forced to consume feces based on his findings when examining the contents of her stomach. This claim has been denied by Harnisch and is also not indicated in Short’s official autopsy, though it has been reprinted in several print and online media.
“The Black Dahlia” name
Some sources attribute the Black Dahlia name to the 1946 film noir The Blue Dahlia, starring Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd (pictured)
According to newspaper reports shortly after the murder, Short received the nickname “Black Dahlia” from staff and patrons at a Long Beach drugstore in mid-1946 as wordplay on the film The Blue Dahlia (1946). Other popularly-circulated rumors claim that the media crafted the name due to Short’s adorning her hair with dahlias. According to the FBI official website, she received the first part of the nickname from the press “for her rumored penchant for sheer black clothes”.
However, reports by DA investigators state that the nickname was invented by newspaper reporters covering her murder; Herald-Express reporter Bevo Means, who interviewed Short’s acquaintances at the drugstore, has been credited with first using the “Black Dahlia” name, though reporters Underwood and Jack Smith have been alternately named as its creators. While some sources claim that Short was referred to or went by the name during her life, others dispute this.[j] Both Gilmore and Harnisch agree that the name originated during Short’s lifetime and was not a creation of the press: Harnisch states that it was in fact a nickname she earned from the staff of the Long Beach drugstore she frequented; in Severed, Gilmore names an A.L. Landers as the proprietor of the drugstore, though he does not provide the store’s name. Prior to the circulation of the “Black Dahlia” name, Short’s killing had been dubbed the “Werewolf Murder” by the Herald-Express due to the brutal nature of the crime.
Alleged prostitution and sexual history
Many true crime books claim that Short lived in or visited Los Angeles at various times in the mid-1940s, including Gilmore’s Severed, which claims she worked at the Hollywood Canteen. This is disputed by Harnisch, who states that Short did not, in fact, live in Los Angeles until after the canteen’s closing in 1945. Although some of her acquaintances and several authors and journalists described Short as a prostitute or call girl during her time in Los Angeles,[k] according to Harnisch, the contemporaneous grand jury proved that there was no existing evidence that she was ever a prostitute. Harnisch claims that the rumor regarding Short’s history as a prostitute originates from John Gregory Dunne’s 1977 novel True Confessions, which is based in part on the crime.
Another widely circulated rumor (sometimes used to counter claims that Short was a prostitute) holds that Short was unable to have sexual intercourse because of a congenital defect that resulted in gonadal dysgenesis, also known as “infantile genitalia”.[l] Los Angeles County district attorney’s files state that the investigators had questioned three men with whom Short had engaged in sex, including a Chicago police officer who was a suspect in the case; FBI files on the case also contain a statement from one of Short’s alleged lovers. Short’s autopsy itself, which was reprinted in full in Michael Newton’s 2009 book The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes, notes that her uterus was “small”; however, no other information in the autopsy is provided that would suggest her reproductive organs were anything other than anatomically normal. The autopsy also states that Short was not and had never been pregnant, contrary to what had been claimed prior to and following her death.
Another rumor—that Short was a lesbian—has often circulated; according to Gilmore, this rumor began after Bevo Means of the Herald-Express was told by the deputy coroner that Short “wasn’t having sex with men” due to her purportedly “small” genitalia. Means took this to mean that Short had sex with women, and both he and reporter Sid Hughes began fruitlessly investigating gay bars in Los Angeles for further information.
Short is interred at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. After her younger sisters had grown up and married, their mother, Phoebe, moved to Oakland to be near her daughter’s grave. She finally returned to the East Coast in the 1970s, where she lived into her nineties. On February 2, 1947, just two weeks after Short’s murder, Republican state assemblyman C. Don Field was prompted by the case to introduce a bill calling for the formation of a sex offender registry; the state of California would become the first U.S. state to make the registration of sex offenders mandatory.
Short’s murder has been described as one of the most brutal and culturally enduring crimes in American history, and Time magazine listed it as one of the most infamous unsolved cases in the world.
Short’s life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, both fictionalized and non-fiction. Among the most famous fictional accounts of Short’s death is James Ellroy’s 1987 novel The Black Dahlia, which, in addition to the murder, explored “the larger fields of politics, crime, corruption, and paranoia in post-war Los Angeles”, according to cultural critic David M. Fine. Ellroy’s novel was adapted into a 2006 film of the same name by director Brian De Palma. Both Ellroy’s novel and its film adaptation bear little relation to the facts of the case. Short was also portrayed in heavily fictionalized accounts by Lucie Arnaz in the 1975 television film Who Is the Black Dahlia?, and again by Mena Suvari in the series American Horror Story, in 2011 featuring Short in the plot line of the episode “Spooky Little Girl”, and again in 2018 with “Return to Murder House”.
Copy of Short’s registered birth certificate showing that no middle name was included
Arbitrary as such reasoning may sound to modern Americans, 21 stuck as a threshold age through the 19th century and into the 20th.
It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
John F. Kennedy
Eating locally produced food as often as possible is best for your body, as its life force is stronger because it is fresh.
We all know that our planet needs our help right now, but we often feel unsure about what to do, where to make an effort, and what will really help. The good news is that we can heal the planet on a daily basis simply by buying and eating food that is grown locally. Food that has been transported long distances doesn’t contain much life force by the time it gets to your kitchen. Making a commitment to shop, buy, and eat locally is not only a very important part of creating positive change, it can also be delicious fun.
One of the best places to begin the adventure of eating locally is a farmer’s market. Stalls brim with fresh fruits and vegetables grown on nearby farms. Not only is this good for the environment, it’s good for the farmers since they benefit from selling directly to the consumer. The consumer benefits, too, from the intimate experience of buying food from the hand of the person who grew it. In addition, the food is fresher and more diverse. In supermarkets, particular varieties of fruits and vegetables are favored due to their ability to survive transport to a far destination. Alternately, at a farmer’s market, you will find versions of the fruits and vegetables you know that will surprise and delight your senses–green striped heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, white carrots, and edible flowers, just to name a few.
Make an effort to buy as much of your food as possible directly from local farmers. You will become one of a growing number of people eating delicious food to save the planet and having fun doing it.
Avoid shopping or important decisions from 1 PM to 8:30 PM EST today (10 AM to 5:30 PM PST). After that, the Moon moves from Taurus into Gemini.
For most of this day, the Moon is in one of your Money Houses; meanwhile, due to the Moon Alert, it’s a poor day for financial decisions or shopping! In fact, restrict your spending to food, gas and entertainment during this window of time.
Today the Moon is in your sign; however, it’s a Moon Alert. This means you will feel more emotional that usual about things. It also means you should avoid important decisions and major purchases. Ideally, restrict your spending to food, gas and entertainment.
For most of today, things are vague and iffy. Expect minor errors and shortages. You might feel like you’re not on the same page as everyone else. Or maybe they’re not on the same page as you? Everything is relative. Just cope as best you can. (Just today.)
Today is is Moon Alert; and the Moon is your ruler — nevertheless, this is a lovely day for a heart-to-heart conversation with a female. This conversation might inspire you to change your goals. If so, wait until the Moon Alert is over to make up your mind.
You are high viz. today. People notice you. Avoid public arguments in elevators. There’s a crazy element at play today because of the Moon Alert. This means you’re creative but things are vague and indecisive. Don’t volunteer for anything. Don’t agree to anything important.
Today you want to be somewhere else. You want to get away from all this. Obviously, travel or the chance to escape in a film or a book will please you. Because of the Moon Alert, avoid important legal decisions and anything to do with medicine and money.
Today the Moon is in one of your Money Houses; however, it’s a Moon Alert. Do not be tempted to make a decision about shared property, inheritances or insurance disputes. Get your info, but wait until the Moon Alert is over before you act. Capisce?
This is a good day for creative discussions with partners or close friends because the Moon Alert is opposite your sign. People will be more candid. However, do not hold them to anything they say today because after the Moon Alert is over – everything changes. Oy!
Expect delays, shortages and misunderstandings at work today because of the Moon Alert. It’s not a big thing – but it’s there. Definitely avoid important financial decisions. Just coast. Restrict spending to food, gas and fun diversions.
This is a wonderful, creative, playful day! Go with the flow! You’ll find it easy to think outside of the box, which is why you will be full of imaginative, original ideas. Write them down. They might apply to sports, the arts, future vacations or your relations with kids.
You will enjoy cocooning at home today. You might have a heart-to-heart talk with a female family member. Nevertheless, whatever happens, during the time of the Moon Alert, do not shop for anything for home other than food and do not agree to anything important.
This is the vague, loosey-goosey day because of the Moon Alert. However, your imagination is in overdrive. If you have some original, far-out ideas – write them down! But make promises to no one. Restrict your spending to food, gas and entertainment.
Composer, playwright, singer, lyricist, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980) shares your birthday today. You have a curious mind and are interested in others. You listen. You like to educate yourself through reading. This year is more slower paced. Basically, it’s your turn to take a rest. Learn to cooperate with others. Look for ways to practice kindness and be helpful to others. Be relaxed and easy going. Business and personal relationships will be helpful.
We have the “all clear” today to shop and do business. The Moon is in Taurus.
Today you feel sensible and thrifty about your money. This is why if you are shopping, you will confine your purchases to practical, long-lasting items. No ostrich feather boas – not today. Trust your moneymaking ideas.
Today the Moon is in your sign dancing with stern Saturn. This is why you feel sensible and aware of your duties. Not only are you aware of your duties and obligations, you are willing to fulfil them. (Is there a Girl Guide badge for this?)
You will be thorough and careful if doing research today. You won’t overlook details. Furthermore, you will be patient and not rush things. This influence will help you to check details regarding inheritances, shared property, taxes, debt and insurance matters.
Someone older or more experienced (quite likely, a female) might have good counsel for you today. This person might influence you or help you to set future goals. (Never turn down the possibility of a hot tip.) Discussions with partners and close friends will focus on practical matters.
You will be productive at work today because you are in a practical frame of mind. This means you are concerned with common sense decisions and everyday matters that affect everyone. You might also take this approach to matters related to your own health.
It will be easy to study subjects today or finish writing a paper or book because you are willing to put your comforts second to getting the job done. Yes, the job comes first. This is also an excellent day to wade through details and forms regarding long-distance travel.
Family discussions will be productive and practical today because people are concerned with everyday matters. In fact, someone in the family who is older or in a position of authority might have some worthwhile ideas. Explore how you might get financial support for home repairs.
Conversations with partners and close friends will be productive because primarily, they will focus on serious matters. It’s a good day to discuss how to pull together as a team to get something done. You might define your boundaries or delegate duties.
This will be a productive day at work mainly because you want to be productive. You’re in a practical frame of mind and you want to deal with issues in a sensible, orderly way so that you can get them done as soon as possible. Furthermore, you don’t want to overlook anything.
Discussions about how to care for and educate children will be practical and sensible today. This is also a good day to teach children. Likewise, any kind of practice related to the performance arts or music or sports will go well because you have the patience to hone your skills.
A family member, especially someone in a position of authority or someone who is more experienced, will be worth listening to today. When you think about it, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Why not stand on the shoulders of those who were gone before you?
This is an excellent day for mental work or any kind of work that requires focus, concentration and attention to detail. You won’t mind doing routine tasks that you usually want to avoid. This is because you have a personal sense of self discipline today. You’re ready to suck it up and get ‘er done!
Actress Regina King (1971) shares your birthday today. You are emotional, romantic and yet, you are also realistic. Your creative, high energy inspires others. You always set high expectations for yourself. A new nine-year cycle will begin for you this year. It will open up many possibilities! You might start a new business activity or change residences. Open any door because your future is in your hands.
(And Returning To His Palace, Sends His Daughter Mua To Welcome Izdubar–Meeting Of The King And Sage)
Beneath a ku-tree Khasisadra eyes
The spreading sea beneath the azure skies,
An aged youth with features grave, serene,
Matured with godly wisdom; ne’er was seen
Such majesty, nor young, nor old,–a seer
In purpose high. The countenance no fear
Of death has marred, but on his face sublime
The perfect soul has left its seal through time.
“Ah, yes! the dream was clear, the vision true,
I saw him on the ship! Is it in view?
A speck! Ah, yes! He comes! he comes to me
My son from Erech comes across the sea!”
Back to his palace goes the holy seer,
And Mua sends, who now the shore doth near;
As beautiful as Waters of the Dawn,
Comes Mua here, as graceful as a fawn.
The King now standing on the glistening sand,
Beholds the beauteous Mua where she stands,
With hands outstretched in welcome to the King,
“O thou sweet spirit, with thy snowy wing,
Oh, where is Khasisadra in this land?
I seek the aid of his immortal hand.”
“Great Sar,” said Mua, “hadst thou not a seer,
That thou shouldst come to seek my father here?”
“‘Tis true, my daughter dear, a seer had I,
Whom I have lost,–a dire calamity;
By his advice and love I undertake
This journey. But alas! for mine own sake
He fell by perils on this lengthened way;
He was not strong, and feared that he should lay
Himself to rest amid the mountains wild.
He was a warrior, with him I killed
Khumbaba, Elam’s king who safely dwelt
Within a forest vast of pines, and dealt
Destruction o’er the plains. We razed his walls–
My friend at last before me dying falls.
“Alas! why did my seer attempt to slay
The dragons that we met upon the way,
He slew his foe, and like a lion died.
Ah, me! the cause, when I the gods defied,
And brought upon us all this awful woe;
In sorrow o’er his death, my life must flow!
For this I came to find the ancient seer,
Lead me to him, I pray, if he lives here.”
Then Mua leads him through the glorious land
Of matchless splendor, on the border grand
Of those wide Happy Fields that spread afar
O’er beaming hills and vales, where ambient air
With sweetest zephyrs sweeps a grand estrade,
Where softest odors from each flowering glade
Lull every sense aswoon that breathes not bliss
And harmony with World of Blessedness.
‘Neath trees of luring fruits she leads the way,
Through paths of flowers where night hath fled away,
A wilderness of varied crystal flowers,
Where fragrance rests o’er clustering, shining bowers.
Each gleaming cup its nectared wine distils,
For spirit lips each chalice ever fills.
Beyond the groves a lucent palace shone
In grandest splendor near an inner zone;
In amethyst and gold divinely rose,
With glories scintillant the palace glows.
A dazzling halo crowns its lofty domes,
And spreading from its summit softly comes
With grateful rays, and floods the balustrades
And golden statues ‘neath the high arcades;
A holy palace built by magic hand
With wondrous architecture, portals grand,
And aurine turrets piled to dizzy heights,
Oh, how its glory Izdubar delights!
Beneath majestic arcades carved, they pass,
Up golden steps that shine like polished glass,
Through noble corridors with sculptured walls,
By lofty columns, archways to the halls
Of glories, the bright harbinger of fanes
Of greater splendor of the Heavenly plains.
Beneath an arch of gems the King espies
A form immortal, he who death defies.
Advancing forth the sage his welcome gives,
“‘Tis Izdubar who comes to me and lives!”
Embracing him he leads him in a room,
Where many a curious graven tablet, tome,
And scrolls of quaint and old forgotten lore
Have slept within for centuries of yore.
The tablets high are heaped, the alcoves full,
Where truth at last has found a welcome goal.
In wisdom’s room, the sage his guest has led,
And seats him till the banquet high is spread;
Of Izdubar he learns his journeys great,
How he for aid has left his throne of state.
The maid now comes, him welcomes to the hall
Of banquets, where are viands liberal,
And fruits, immortal bread, celestial wines
Of vintage old; and when the hero dines,
They lead him to his private chamber room
That overlooks the wondrous garden’s bloom
Across the plain and jasper sea divine,
To Heaven’s mountains rising sapphirine.
Four beauteous streams of liquid silver lead
Across the plain; the shining sea they feed;
The King reclines upon his couch at rest,
With dreams of happiness alone is blest.
[Footnote 1: “Mua,” the waters of the dawn, the daughter of Khasisadra.]
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet VIII (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.