In 1947, housewife Betty Bersinger was walking down a residential block in LA with her 3 year old daughter. She was on her way to pick up a pair of shoes at the shoe repair man’s. She saw something in the street that she assumed was a discarded mannequin.
I know this seems like a crazy notion now – how could you see that body in the street and not realize it was a body immediately? – but honestly. If you saw a body in the street carved in two, you would not think that it was a body either. At least I wouldn’t. I don’t even recognize people I know when I run into them in situations where I don’t expect to see them.
So, yes, no one would expect that.
Especially since the body was meticulously cleaned and sawed apart to look, well, not human. However, a 3 inch long cut was made across her face to make it look as though she was bleeding. That kind of cut is called a “Glasgow smile”. The police report claimed her death was due to “hemorrhage and shock due to concussions of the brain and lacerations of the face.” However, her body also appeared tortured (grass was shoved into her vagina, the killer may have taken the rose tattoo as a trophy, and she was likely sodomized after death. I’m putting these facts in parentheses as though the parentheses will somehow keep us safe from them.)
Mostly, I worry about what happened to the three year old who saw this. Do you think they remembered it? I think if they remembered it it’s possible they were really sincerely troubled afterwards. Every time I hear this story I try to think about how much I can remember from when I was three. The answer is “nothing” so that’s pretty reassuring.
Weirdly, the details of the murder are not what horrifies me most.