Thanks to Wednesday night’s episode of “American Horror Story,” internet searches for a 65-year-old murder case have shot through the roof. Actress Mena Suvari played Elizabeth Short, the real-life victim of a horrific, and still unsolved, 1947 murder.
Short’s body was found mutilated in a Los Angeles park on January 15, 1947, drained of blood and sliced in half. The body had been meticulously cleaned and posed.
Notably, her mouth was slashed open at the corners in a “Glasglow smile” — which featured heavily on “Nip/Tuck,” another Ryan Murphy show, as the signature of serial assaulter “The Carver.”
The case was highly sensationalized in the Los Angeles papers, with details being exaggerated and changed so as to turn mild-mannered Short into the character of “The Black Dahlia,” an adventurous, promiscuous woman, particularly given her 1943 arrest for underage drinking. The killer added to the media fervor by sending Short’s belongings to the paper or writing letters to the newspaper every time coverage appeared to be waning.
To this day, the killer has not been found, likely due to the media firestorm — over 50 people have confessed to murdering “The Black Dahlia,” and countless others have pointed fingers at friends and family members as the killer.
In recent years, “The Black Dahlia” has seen yet another media resurgence. Aside from “American Horror Story,” the 2006 film “The Black Dahlia” starred Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson, with “The Vampire Diaries'” Mia Kirshner as Short.
For a recap of the “American Horror Story” depiction, click here.