© Larry Harnisch 2005

Fictional People, Places and Events in "Severed"

This is a short list of a few of the nonexistent people who allegedly provided "information" in "Severed," as well as fabricated places where events in the book are set:

                      Chapter 1, Page 5-7
                      "Severed": An unidentified police sergeant from Inglewood arrives at the crime scene in a radio car and pulls up directly behind the responding officers' car.             
                       Fact: No such car and no such officer are visible in the crime scene photos.
                       Bonus errors:
                        --The Inglewood sergeant was purportedly cruising Slauson, which is in the city of Los Angeles jurisidction, not Inglewood.                         
                        --The sergeant purportedly knew one of the officers from the Police Academy. Actually, they were rookies who had just joined the department after being discharged from the service.
                      --An officer from another jurisdiction wouldn't be allowed near the crime scene.
                      --Aggie Underwood allegedly marches up to the body (Page 6). In fact, photos show her staying out in the street, far from the remains of Elizabeth Short. There are no pictures of Underwood in close proximity to the body.

                      Chapter 3, Pages 34-35: The Clinton Hotel, Broadway
                      "Severed": Elizabeth Short stays with "Lucille Varela" at the Clinton, where she receives a money order from "Sharon Givens."
Fact: There was no hotel on Broadway or anywhere else in Los Angeles named the Clinton in the 1940s, if ever, according to a search of the 1946 phone book or Yellow Pages, as well as the Los Angeles Times. I suppose it goes without saying that no Lucille Varela appears in the 1946 phone books and the name Lucille Varela never appears in the Los Angeles Times (including classified ads, legal listings, births, marriage licenses, divorces and deaths). from 1881 to 1969.

                    Chapter 4, Page 44. Bobbie Rey Harris
                      "Severed": Elizabeth Short, Bobbie Rey Harris and Arthur James take the train to Tucson, where he is arrested for violating the Mann Act.
                      Fact: According to the original criminal complaint in the Gilmore archives at UCLA, the woman was named Geraldine Anne Gillig  and instead of arriving on Nov. 12, 1944 ("Severed," Page 45) they arrived Nov. 14. Does that mean none of this story is true? That's what it means, especially since Elizabeth Short spent most of 1944 in Florida, as shown by the "Promise" telegram, addressed to her in Miami Beach. She didn't arrive in Los Angeles until the middle of 1946.

                      Chapter 5, Page 48: "Princess Whitewing"
                      "Severed": Elizabeth Short goes to Miami Beach and gets a part-time job at a cafe run by a former showgirl named "Princess Whitewing."
                    No performer named "Princess Whitewing" ever appeared in the Los Angeles Times from 1881 to 1969, nor does she appear in a Google search or any other common Internet search engine. The only other place she shows up is in "Black Dahlia Avenger" in research based on "Severed."                      

                    Chapter 11, Page. 118: Herman Willis
                     "Severed": LAPD Detective Herman Willis is transferred to assist in the investigation and witnesses the autopsy.
Fact: As noted elsewhere on this Web site at great length, Herman Willis does not exist. His name does not appear in the phone book for the period, nor on the lists of retired or deceased LAPD officers. He is not listed in the LAPD summary of the case, which names everyone who attended the autopsy. Nobody has ever heard of him and his name appears nowhere besides "Severed." Does that mean everything about the autopsy attributed to him is untrue? That's what it means.

                        Chapter 13, Page 149. Martin Lewis
                         "Severed":  Shoe store manager Martin Lewis is  interrogated by police  after one of his business cards is found in  the envelope of belongings sent by the killer to the Examiner. Martin supposedly ran two stores, a Leed's shoes on Hollywood Boulevard and another unidentified store on Cahuenga "south of the boulevard."
Fact: An inventory of business cards and other items accompanying Elizabeth Short's address book, included in the district attorney's files, does not list a "Martin Lewis" nor any other shoe salesman.
                        Bonus errors:
                        --"Severed" describes the material from the killer as a parcel wrapped in brown paper, just like "The Badge."
                        --Leed's Shoes, where Lewis supposedly worked, did not have a store on Cahuenga ("Severed" Page 62), although it did have one at 6434 Hollywood Blvd.
                        --Macy Jewelers (Page 62) was not on Cahuenga but was at 6384 Hollywood Blvd.
                        --While Elizabeth Short allegedly tried on the most expensive shoes in the store (Page 62), Leed's promoted itself as selling economical, inexpensive "Qual-I-Craft" shoes. (Typical prices in 1943: $4.15 a pair, vs $6.95-$7.95 for a pair at the Broadway and $7.15-$14.95 for a pair at the May Co.) In other words, this was the Pay Less Shoes of its day.
                        -- The Leed's stores specialized in women's shoes and were large, with seating for 120-150 customers at a time, making them too big to be staffed by one or two people. It's impossible to imagine that the Leed's  chain of shoe stores would permit its manager to run a competing business or close at lunch. Does that mean everything (like the sexual encounters with Elizabeth Short in Leed's storeroom) attributed to Martin Lewis is made up? That's what it means.
                   Bonus factoid: Shoe rationing did not end until Oct. 31, 1945.

                   Chapter 13, Page 150: The Hollywood chief of police
                   "Severed": "If it had not been for a good friend with the Hollywood Citizen-News who was very close with the Hollywood chief of police....."
Fact: Hollywood is part of Los Angeles and is under the jurisdiction of the LAPD. There is no "Hollywood police chief," although it does have a non-official "mayor," Johnny Grant, who performs ceremonial functions. I had forgotten about this particular clinker until I stumbled on it while thumbing through the book. As I keep saying: "Severed" is 25% mistakes and 50% fiction. I laughed all day over this one.

                        Chapter 14, Page 152. Louis Young
                      "Severed": City Editor Louis Young of the Herald-Express.
Fact: The Herald's city editor was Arthur L. "Cappy" Marek, the man who hired Aggie Underwood. According to Rob Leicester Wagner's "Red Ink and White Lies," Marek, who died in 1971, was city editor at the Herald until Underwood took over in the late 1940s, well after the Bauderdorf murder. Neither "Red Ink" nor Will Fowler's "Reporters" (which has its own serious problems) lists a Louis Young, nor can I find him in Underwood's "Newspaperwoman." Does that mean  it isn't true that Hearst issued an edict to kill stories on the Bauerdorf case? That's what it means.

                        Chapter 19, Page 209. Herald Examiner story about an informant.
                      "Severed": "Searching through the rumors, and notified by police beat and sheriff's liaison, the newspaper managed to obtain a story based on the informant's information from Smith. The Herald Examiner ran a front-page story."
Fact: The story is a feature by Suzan Nightingale on John Gilmore and was published Jan. 17, 1982, for the anniversary of the crime. There was no news leak involved whatsoever, as implied in the book.
                      Bonus error: While "Severed" says Jack Wilson was living at the Holland Hotel (and apparently died in a fire there that year), the Herald Examiner article says that according to John Gilmore, "the killer is alive and running a bar in Nevada."  As I keep saying, "Severed" is 25% mistakes and 50% fiction.