Chapter 37 ~ Citizens Committee

Document from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Black Dahlia files:

May 18, 1949

With reference to the Elizabeth Short, (Black Dahlia) case reopened in the press January 14 1947.  The following allegations seem to constituent reasonable grounds for a re-opening of the investigation of this case.

On January 14, 1947, at about 10.30 A.M., on my way to work; was walking West on the South side of Hollywood Blv’d between El Centro and Vista Del Mar Streets.  Opposite parking lot located between Hotel and the Undertaking Parlor, noted girl approaching, (walking East). This person when first seen was directly in front of Undertaking Parlor on the south-east corner of Hollywood Blvd and Vista Del Mar. She was manifestly disturbed and by her manner suggested an angry mood.  As she neared me she looked back once or twice.  Her pace was moderately fast.  First impression was of a so-called “party girl” on a “call” or a girl just going home from an all-night party.  This impression was sustained by her apparel, unusual even for Hollywood Blvd at 1030 A.M.

Thinking that she was headed for the Hotel nearby, a Hotel ordinarily occupied by wrestlers and Boxers and similar persons, tyrned[sic] and watched her after she passed expecting to see her enter this hotel.  On the contrary, she passed the Hotel and continued walking East until she reached Gower Street.  Having some years previously known of a certain house on Carlos Avenue, a street running West from Franklin Avenue and intersecting Gower one block north of Hollywood Blvd, we watched to see if she would turn in that direction.  Reaching the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Gower, she crossed Hollywood Blvd to the North side, then turned East at Gower on the East side of the street, and turned North on Gower and was lost to sight.  At this point, our opinion was that she might be heading for the house on Carlos Avenue , and if so, could be one of the girls frequenting the place.  The girl is described as follows:

White American, about 5’7″, 120 Lbs, 20-25 yrs, Well Formed, Dark hair worn rather long, white or light-colored flower worn in hair on the right side, also some sort of pin or other jewelry.

Attire: Light-colored, about knee-length coat of light weight cloth, worn open.  Black silk or other glossy material dress with ruffled hem.  Light colored hose.  High-heeled, open type, black colored shoes.

No bag. carried balled-up handkerchief in one hand.

The following evening, and for some time afterwards, various Los Angeles newspapers carried physical descriptions of Elizabeth Short together with her photograph.  Whether or not, the girl here reported was Miss Short, she did answer her general description.  Certain odd circumstances brought out by police investigations of the case influenced a telephonic report to the police in which the entire set of circumstances was reported to the Homicide detail.  These circumstances folllow:

There is a certain house on Carlos Avenue about one block east of Gower on the south side of the street.  This house a frame, California Bungalow type residence, has for some time been reported as a resort for Lesbians, Homo-sexuals of both sexes, Bi-Sexuals and other so-called “queers.”  In 1936, and at other times the house has been the residence of Lesbians and has been investigated by the Vice Division of the Hollywood Precinct.  This property, directly in the rear of the Marcal Theater on Hollywood Blvd is owned by Mr. Mark Hansen, likewise owner of the Marcal Theatrer.  It is alleged that Mr. Hansen is himself a person with abnormal sexual desires and that he consorted with Lesbians in this house.  Also, it is reported that the operator of the “N.T.G.” Theater and Night-Club is similarly perverted, and is an associate of Mark Hansen.  Newspaper accounts of the Elizabeth Short case infer that people of this type may have committed the crime.

With regards to this house, one may pass directly into the rear of the Marcal Theater, through a gate in the fence at the rear of the lot.  Also, on Carlos Avenue, access to the N.T.G., theater and the building west of it may be had by entering the parking lot in the rear of these buildings from Carlos Avenue.  Examination of these premises will disclose that all of these locations occupy a readily inter-communicable area by which persons may pass to and fro without detection.

One of these adjacent properties, is a building formerly occupied by a meat market, now occupied by a foreign car agency.  At the time of the murder of Miss Short, this building was vacant, and open through a door in the rear leading from the parking lot above described as the building on Hollywood immediately west of the “N.T.G.” theater.  An alley leading from the parking lot to Hollywood Blvd separates the two building.  With regards to this former meat market, it contained at the northwest corner, near the rear door leading to the parking lot, an enclosure used by the meat market for dressing meat.  This arrangement consists of an area enclosed on four sides by cement walls about three inches above the general floor level and its central portion, also concrete contained a drain.  Passing out of the door in the rear of this market, there is a large incinerator with a sizable iron door standing over near the fence at the rear of the Carlos Avenue house.  At the rear of the “NTG” theater is another.

About two days following the news reports concerning Miss Short, the facts concerning our alleged observations of a girl very similar to her in dress and general appearance on Hollywood Blvd, at about 10.30 A.M. on January 13, 1947 was reported in full to the Los Angeles Police.  Subsequently, news reports were published with regards to a certain note-book bearing the name of Mark Hansen that had been found in her effects and that Mr Hansen had admitted knowing the girl and giving her the note-book.  It was also reported that Miss Short had lived at the Carlos Avenue house.  Further, that  some persons had reported seeing a girl of her dress and description in a small grey coupe in the neighborhood of Hollywood & Vine.  Another call was made to the Police detailing information regarding Mark Hansen.

Recalling the reputation of the Carlos Avenue address, we walked past the house and noted a small grey coupe parked in the drive.  Checked with the MVD, this coupe was found to be registered to Mark Hansen at that address.  Continued past the house about 75 feet to a gate in a cement wall enclosing the parking lot in the rear of the meat market and the NTG theater and entered the area through this gate.  Then about 2.00 p.m., in the afternoon the place was utterly deserted.  Walked over to the rear of the meat market and opened the incinerator door.  Evidence of recent use was manifested by the presence of unidentifiable burned fragments in the bottom.  Then entered market through rear door and found previously described meat dressing area.  Considerable junk both metallic and other littered area in rear of building.  Left building by rear door, turned right in the alley between this marked and NTG Theater.  About halfway down alley to Hollywood Blvd, turned to look back and discovered Mr. Mark Hansen, peering out of a door in the rear of the NTG, as he was obviously watching me, and no doubt had been for some time, continued to Hollywood Blvd, turned to the right in front of the market.  Out of sight of Mr. Hansen, watched him open the door and cross alley towards the incinerator at the rear of the market.

(This too was reported to the Police).

This report is not an accusation of Mr. Hansen or of any other person but a true account of facts.  Whether or not anyone in or about the Carlos Avenue House, NTG, or the meat market committed the crime, is not known.  Circumstances, brought the name of Mark Hansen into the case; the girl was known to him, had occupied the Carlos Avenue House.  The house was a known resort of Queers, we thought that we saw Miss Short heading towards the Carlos Avenue address. To suggest possibilities:  The girl may have become involved in an altercation with one of the Queers or Lesbians over a mutual friend, murdered, her body taken into the meat market and dismembered, her affects burned in the incinerator, and her corpse transported via an automobile from  the parking lot to where it was found.  It is only a few blocks from this location to Van Ness Blvd.  From descriptions of the condition of the body when it was found, we feel that the crime might have been committed by a Lesbian or other such.  At night, the areas herein described are utterly deserted and unlighted.

2 Responses to “Chapter 37 ~ Citizens Committee”

  1. Steve Hodel Says:

    The information submitted by the “Citizen’s Committee” where they state that Mark Hansen gave Elizabeth Short his personal address book is incorrect on their part. It is well documented in 1947 original interviews that Mark Hansen had stored the book (a gift from relatives) in a drawer and Elizabeth Short apparently removed and kept it during the time she was staying at the Hansen residence in 1946. The other “myth” is that she stole it because it contained the names of powerful movers and shakers in Hollywood. According to Mark Hansen the book was BLANK at the time of its disappearance, so all and any entries in the book were put there by Elizabeth Short AFTER removing it from the residence.

    Steve Hodel

  2. admin Says:

    Editor: The report lists two days for the same event, January 13 and January 14.

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