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The Black Dahlia Essay

1541 words - 7 pages

A woman taking a peaceful morning stroll in central Los Angeles with her three year-old daughter, came across what she thought was a mannequin broken in half. But as she got closer to the figure laying in the dirt face up, she realized that it wasn’t a broken mannequin, it was something far worse. It was a woman’s naked body, cut in half. Her hair was tattered, she had gashes cut into the corner of her mouth and her intestines were tucked into her buttocks. It was a very macabre scene. When the two detectives assigned to the case, Harry Hansen and Finnis Brown, arrived on the scene they lifted the woman’s fingerprints and sent them into the FBI headquarters. A match was quickly found. The dead woman lying in the vacant lot was Elizabeth Short, a beautiful, young aspiring actress. She had her whole life ahead of her, with nothing but big dreams. Who killed her and why ?
Elizabeth Short was born on July 29, 1924, in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. She was one of five girls to Cleo and Phoebe Short. She was raised in Medford, Massachusetts, where Cleo’s successful business of building miniature golf courses was booming. In 1929, however, the Great Depression hit and caused the Short family to go bankrupt. Cleo couldn’t continue to go through the agony of not being able to support his family. Cleo parked his car on a bridge and disappeared. A few years later Cleo wrote Phoebe a letter saying he saved up money to move her and the kids to California, but she shunned him, stating she never wanted to see him again. Phoebe continued to be a single mother and raised all five girls on her own. As Elizabeth got older, respiratory problems were occurring. She developed severe asthma and chronic bronchitis. By the time she was sixteen, her asthma got so bad she had to leave Massachusetts for the winter and stay with family friends in Florida. Three years later Elizabeth traveled across the country to live with her father in San Francisco, hoping that she could start her acting career. When she moved in it was awkward, she hardly knew him and he very much regretted leaving his family. Their ideas were always clashing of how things should be. He wanted her to be the woman of the house and cook and clean for him but she refused. She was a wild-child that didn't want to be tied down. Other than the conflicts going on between her and her father, this time period was very idyllic time in her life. She worked in a mailroom at Camp Cooke, an air force base just north of Los Angeles. All day she was surrounded by lonely soldiers that lusted over her. All of the attention she was receiving only fed into Elizabeth’s desire to be an actress. That all diminished a few months later, when she was arrested for underage drinking and sent back home to Massachusetts. Over the course of the next couple years she traveled between big cities. She waitressed to get money and travel. It all fed her appetite for meeting new people and seeing new places. She wanted all that life could...

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