"Another factor complicating the case was the obsession developed by men with the Black Dahlia in death--
as many as had been obsessed with her in life."
--Finis Brown, LAPD
|The Black Dahlia was the name given to a girl named Elizabeth Short, an aspiring actress who usually dressed in black. Her hair was jet black, her skin was very pale and her nail polish and lipstick very red. The contrast of these colors, combined with her vampy persona, created a most dramatic effect even in a place like Hollywood.|
|"Of course, the Black Dahlia was not always known by that name. Elizabeth Short was born on July 29, 1924, in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, to Phoebe and Cleo Short. Her family and friends in Massachusetts called her Betty."|
She met lots of men, and started relationships..
hoping for a marriage, but thats not what any of them seem to have wanted.
And with others, once they tried to take the relationship to a sexual level,
For a girl so beautiful, to have been wanted by so many.. and looking for fame... why wasnt she sleeping with anyone?
Because she was merely playing a role, playing the part of a sexy woman... even though inside she wasnt one. Literally.
She kept herself in relationships so that she would have a place to go if one failed.
So she could have a nice place to sleep and spending money. But, nothing more ever came of them.
|"Wednesday morning, the fifteenth of January, was a dreary gray day that promised little improvement, but it was nothing to keep housewife Betty Bersinger from going outside. She and her three-year-old daughter set out from her home on Norton Avenue in the Leimert Park section of Los Angeles to the shoe repair shop. As they reached Norton and 39th Street, they passed by several vacant lots overgrown with weeds. In 1947, development of this area south of Hollywood had been slowed by the war."|
|"In one of the vacant lots, Betty caught a glimpse of something near the sidewalk. It looked like part of a broken mannequin lying in the weeds. The lower half of the department store dummy had been separated from the upper half and twisted in a macabre way. The closer she got to the strange ghostly white object, the more she realized that it wasn't a department store dummy at all. She took her daughter away from ghastly sight and called the police at a house nearby."|
|"Officers Frank Perkins and Will Fitzgerald were at the scene in minutes to find the naked body of a woman who had been cut in half. They called immediately for assistance. The dead woman seemed posed, lying on her back with her arms raised over her shoulders, her legs spread eagle. She had been cut in half at the waist. Her face and body had been slashed viciously. Rope marks on her ankles, wrists and neck suggested a very nasty scene before she died."|
"On the day of the autopsy, January 16th, Dr. Newbarr spoke with Detectives Brown, Hansen and Willis. Author John Gilmore in his book Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder reports an important conversation: Newbarr told the detectives that "It is impossible to tell you if she was raped because traces of spermatozoa are negative, and she did not have fully developed genitals... The area is shallow indicating that she did not have a completed vaginal canal."
"Dr. Victor CeFalu assisted Dr. Newbarr, Chief Surgeon, on the young woman's autopsy. The cause of death was "hemorrhage and shock due to concussion of the brain and lacerations of the face."
Newbarr's report is quoted below in part:
"There are multiple lacerations to the midforehead, in the right forehead, and at the top of the head in the midline. There are multiple tiny abrasions and lacerations. The trunk is completely severed by an incision, which is almost straight through the abdomen.... There are multiple crisscross lacerations in the suprapubic area, which extend through the skin and soft tissues.
There are lacerations of the intestine and both kidneys. The uterus is small and no pregnancy is apparent. The tubes, ovaries, and cul-de-sac are intact.... Within the vagina and higher up there is lying loose a piece of skin with fat and subcutaneous tissue attached. On this piece of loose skin there are several crisscrossing lacerations. Smears for spermatozoa have been taken.
The anal opening is markedly dilated and the opening measures 1 1/4" in diameter.... There are multiple abrasions.... Smear for spermatozoa has been taken.....
The stomach is filled with greenish brown granular matter, mostly feces and other particles, which could not be identified. All smears for spermatozoa were negative.
It appeared as though many of the lacerations, including the dilation of the anal opening, were done after the woman's death."
The Black Dahlia herself had a secret so dark that she had to keep it from everyone in her life, men and women alike. The autopsy brought a new twist to a story already impossible to believe.
The previously sealed Elizabeth Short autopsy report, revealed that because her genitals were not fully developed, Elizabeth Short was incapable of having sex.
So no longer was this a case of the murder of another Hollywood
tramp, this girl was no whore.