I’ve blogged twice about John Gilmore and his “expert” opinions about Short. Another author of Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer, Janice Knowlton, insisted to Pamela Hazleton, owner of the Black Dahlia Website that Gilmore is a “selfish bastard none of us should trust.” Ouch. I don’t necessarily trust Gilmore but I wouldn’t refer to him as a “selfish bastard.” My guess is that Knowlton objects to the fact that Gilmore is out to make his money with his text about Short and for that reason possibly refuses to share any information with her. Well, doesn’t going for that bestseller and the royalties that accompany it place Knowlton in the same category? Knowlton stated that Gilmore sent her “threatening letters” when she was writing her own book about Short. Certainly threatening letters are a problem but I’d have to read one to believe it.
Perhaps the worst thing Knowlton wrote about Short in her own book was that Short was a “peddler” of children and a pedophile. Now that type of rumour makes my blood boil, more than any other. It has to be one of the worst slurs I’ve ever heard about Short. Why does Knowlton write it? To make money, of course. And we’re back to the selfish thing again. Something about the pot calling down the kettle, I believe. Knowlton’s book is only going to sell if she can sensationalize it. This is another one of those “tell-all” (the bullshit) books I will not be reading. How does Knowlton know that her father George Knowlton was the BD killer? Because he raped and beat Knowlton repeatedly over the years and during her traumatic flashbacks over the decades she somehow came to the conclusion that daddy dearest also killed Short. She recalled him committing beating and killing their animals, beating her mother…when the repressed memories came o
ut, it was of him murdering other people. It gets better than that. Knowlton claims that her father and Short were lovers and Short was a frequent visitor. Knowlton was told to call Short Aunt Betty, but her mother set her straight: “she’s not your aunt, she’s just another of your father’s whores.” Knowlton said that her father had been having an affair with Short and that Short was staying in a makeshift bedroom in their garage, where she suffered a miscarriage.
Along with those repressed memories, Knowlton recalled being in the garage with her daddy when he killed Short. Forced to participate, the young Knowlton carried “guilt feelings” for years. Knowlton said she was later forced to accompany her father when he disposed of the body. Knowlton’s therapist, whom I suspect has been cut in for a percentage of Knowlton’s royalties, stated on Inside Edition that “I think a pretty seasoned therapist is good at this.”
Personally, I wouldn’t have said that out loud. Police in Los Angeles and Westminster dismissed Knowlton’s Black Dahlia story when it surfaced. Naturally the facts Knowlton delivered to Det. John St John (better known as Jigsaw John – let’s hope that isn’t a dark joke about his participation in the Short case) aren’t compatible with Knowlton’s staggering retrieved memories. I tend to side with the detective. In 1991, she persuaded skeptical Westminster police detectives to search for evidence of the Black Dahlia murder — and that of another murder she believed her father committed — by excavating a vacant lot, the site of her former home. Nothing to warrant a criminal investigation was found. Here is a pitch for the book: Carefully documenting her claims, she exposes George Knowlton’s 30-year rampage of rape and murder. Even more shocking is the evidence she provides
revealing that the police always knew the killer’s identity. Additionally, without any evidence of course, Knowlton has the audacity to state that,“Be
th Short stole too much from me when I was nine and ten. She and curiosity-seekers will get no more.”
This statement was a response to Hazleton, who invited her to participate in a 3-hour chat session on her blog (I believe) about her book with interested members of the public. Knowlton abruptly refused. She didn’t wish to be questioned about her book even though it was a great promotional opportunity. Knowlton didn’t mind promoting herself and her book with the press, however. “Any time we ran anything about the Black Dahlia case, she’d leave long, rambling voice messages on my answering machine at The Times,” said Larry Harnisch, a Times copy editor. Harnisch’s curiosity was piqued by Knowlton’s silence after a Nov. 21 Los Angeles Times Magazine article on Steve Hodel about his supposed killer father George Hodel was published. Harnisch began
investigating, as any good editor will do, and discovered that Knowlton died March 5 at her home. The Orange County coroner’s office classified the death as a suicide from the combined effect of five drugs. Jolane Emerson, Knowlton’s stepsister, told The Times she “her story was trash, and it wasn’t even true. She believed it, but it wasn’t reality. I know, because I lived with her father for 16 years.” Her stepfather, a foundry worker who died in 1962, “could be meaner and ornerier than heck, but he wasn’t a killer.” Of course, Knowlton has further repressed memories that involved another horrific murder – this one being Georgette Bauerdorf. I assumed there would be a sequel to the Short memories had she lived.
There exists an amateur yet sensible theory about the death or disastrous misfortune of a person called the Comfort Theory. It’s something that should be (and typically is) common sense to most of us, but not to the Janice Knowltons of this world (or the next). The theory (illustrated on the left) states that when you consider the misfortunes of others, it’s NOT all about YOU (Janice, are you listening up there on your cloud)? The comfort theory is best illustrated with rings or circles.
In the centre ring is the victim (Short). All rings circling outward are the people closest to her who are the most effected by her murder. Obviously that includes her mother and sisters, then her friends such as Anne Toth and her ex-boyfriend Gordon Fickling. The further out the rings are (which means the bigger the rings) the less connected these people are to the subject at hand. These are the LEAST important people in the circle. These are the people who think “it’s all about me” when clearly it is not. Somehow these egocentric types believe their experiences with the person in the centre of the ring matter more than that person him or herself. Never mind what suffering Short has been through: it’s all about Knowlton, or Hodel, or anyone else who is out to make a profit from Short’s tragedy and in doing so, keeps the spotlight firmly on him or her. And for many Black Dahlia authors, that’s all it’s about.