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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
describes the material from the killer as a parcel wrapped in
brown paper, just like "The Badge."
Shoes, where Lewis
supposedly worked, did not have a store on Cahuenga ("Severed" Page
62), although it did have one at 6434 Hollywood Blvd.
(Page 62) was not on Cahuenga but was at 6384 Hollywood Blvd.
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
$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
That's what it means.
Bonus factoid: Shoe rationing did not end until Oct. 31,
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
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
Fowler's "Reporters" (which has its own serious problems) lists a Louis
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.