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The 'Black Dahlia' Murder

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'The Black Dahlia' is the romantic name given by newspapers to Beth Short, who was brutally murdered1 in Los Angeles around 15 January, 1947. Despite an intensive investigation, no one was ever charged with the murder, and the case officially remains open.

The murder captured the public's attention, and has been the subject of several books, including a fictionalisation by James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia.

At this point, more than 60 years removed from the crime, it's nearly impossible to untangle fact from speculation. Even the name 'The Black Dahlia' is debated, as some say Beth Short had already acquired the moniker before her murder, from her habit of dressing in black.

The Black Dahlia case continues to exert an almost incomprehensible fascination today on anyone who comes across the story. In part, this is because the circumstances of her death are misplaced, coming as she does from a supposedly simpler time. In the euphoria of post-war America, no one wanted to believe that such things could happen, even if today we view them as commonplace.

1Her body was found in a field, cut in two and otherwise mutilated.

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