• Thu, Aug 9 2012

Shelved Dolls – Elizabeth “The Black Dahlia” Short – It’s Not The Murder Story You Think You Know (But It Is Terrifying And NSFW)

Largely, this is because during her time at a naval base Elizabeth did become engaged. At least, maybe she became engaged. This is where the details of the case become a bit fuzzier.

When she was working on the naval base, Elizabeth met Major Matthew Michael Gordon Jr. He was soon deployed oversees and, following a plan crash in India, Elizabeth claimed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage. Following her death, his friends confirmed that he was engaged to Short. However, his family denied this entirely.

It’s also possible that during their time together, Elizabeth and Matthew never actually had sex. This was, after all, the 1940′s. In their letters to one another it sounds as though they were planning to wait until the night of their honeymoon to consummate their relationship.

Now, it’s possible his friends were lying because they wanted more publicity. People do that. Or it’s possible his family was lying because they wanted to defend his reputation from someone who was being depicted in every newspaper as a prostitute prowling the boulevard.

That seemed somewhat unnecessary though, given that Matthew had died in a plan crash. The event shook Elizabeth to such an extent that she told her friends that she had a husband who had died – and that she had a child who died in childbirth. The “husband” in question seems to be Matthew, though there is no evidence that she ever had a child.

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  • Chelsea

    Have you seen the Sissi movies? They are the opposite of her life. But the costumes were nice! LOL

  • Maggie

    Oh dear god, your ending gave me goosebumps!

  • Sarah!

    Steve Hodel wrote a couple of books about his dad maybe doing this. They are extremely interesting but you have to kind of suspend your disbelief in order to get into them. Especially the second one where he implicates his father in like, 45 of the most famous murder cases of the last 60 years.

  • BeccaTheCyborg

    My suspect of choice is Frank Sweeney, a former doctor who almost certainly committed the Cleveland Torso Murders, and was in LA at the time.

  • Sabrina

    This was fascinating! So basically, do they not even have an idea of why someone would have wanted to murder her? No secret lovers, no super bad something with her dad? Her life seems pretty unextraordinary for a murder this brutal.

  • Laura

    I love, love, love the Shelved Dolls feature! I’ve already obsessively read about all the women you’ve profiled, yet I still learn something new every time. Can’t WAIT for the Sisi article!

  • Em

    You should do Sisi, definitely. I’m in the middle of her (poorly translated) biography, and she’s really interesting. Also, bought Mitford’s Pompadour bio after reading your take on her. I really like this series of yours!

  • Matzukado

    I absolutely did NOT click on the page with the picture (my psyche is far too fragile) but I just wanted to say that as someone who has had a passing interest in this case, this article added an extra dimension that I never knew about. I’m realling enjoying this series, thanks for writing it.