Black Dahlia: George Hodel — Soil Samples at the Sowden House: FAIL

Your Theory Is Junk

Saturday was, in case you had forgotten, the one-year anniversary of Buster the Wonder Dog’s frolic at the Sowden House in a search for evidence to link Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel to the Black Dahlia killing. You may recall that Buster “alerted” at several locations and that soil samples were taken for testing for possible human decomposition.

The supermarket media and reporters who specialize in one-source stories have had their fun with “Ex-Homicide Cop Says Evil Dad Killed the Black Dahlia ” and moved on to whatever will pump up TV ratings or is trending on Google, “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” being today’s likely topic.

Let’s recap the media frenzy:


Feb. 3: “Can This Dog  Solve the Black Dahlia Homicide?” by Christine Pelisek in the Daily Beast.

And to quote the Pasadena Star-News of Feb. 1 (Author: Cadaver dog discovered Black Dahlia death scene at Hollywood home by Frank C. Girardot):

The Nov. 9 search of the historic Sowden House on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood was set up in conjunction with the TV show “Ghost Hunters.” Although it was filmed, the segment with Buster never aired.

“It certainly seems like someone was murdered there,” Dostie said. “Something happened.”

But the L.A. Daily Mirror has a long memory and we have posted on the matter regularly, inquiring about the results of soil tests, which were expected, according to Pelisek’s article:

Back at the Hodel house last November, Buster was turned loose to search for scents related to human decomposition—and he perked up, or “alerted” as Dostie calls it, at several potential clues in the basement. Soil samples were taken and results are expected next week.

We waited. Next week came and went. And the week after that.

And the week after that.

Months went by.


Now, I hope you aren’t disappointed or surprised, because Steve Hodel and Buster’s owner, retired Sgt. Paul Dostie, went on a show called “Darkness Radio” on Nov. 5 for its “True Crime Tuesday” feature. And at the 34:38 mark, Dostie says:

At that point we sent the samples off, and unfortunately we’ll probably not get analysis on that. (slight laugh) It’s been almost a year now. And it’s really unfortunate. But we can get some from outside…

In other words, the producers of “Ghost Hunters” took Hodel, Dostie and Buster to the Sowden house, filmed Buster engaging in activity that they described as “alerting” to human decomposition and didn’t use it in the show. Then the tape was aired on KNBC-TV Channel 4, on Feb. 1, kicking off sweeps month, when TV stations go into hyperdrive, broadcasting their most lurid, sensational stories in an attempt to boost their Nielsen ratings.

Executive summary: Buster the Wonder Dog’s frolic in looking for Black Dahlia “evidence” at the Sowden House was all about KNBC trying to boost its ratings for sweeps month. It was a nothing story, which is why “Ghost Hunters” didn’t use it. And now we have proof.

Another good story ruined by the L.A. Daily Mirror.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Hollywood, LAPD, Television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Black Dahlia: George Hodel — Soil Samples at the Sowden House: FAIL

  1. Eve says:

    Bad dog–BAD dog!


  2. Are you saying I’ve missed another Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?? Here’s a great idea. It seems to me there is a substantial and persistent reservoir of interest in the death of Elizabeth Short. Why shouldn’t some young guy with a nose for facts, reasonable writing skills and maybe a background in journalism, bring it all together in one nicely laid out, reasonably priced volume? You know, just the factual stuff, presented with a droll wit, perhaps juxtapose some of the more egregious misrepresentations and close with some best guesses or an explanation why there are no best guesses. I’d buy it. In a heartbeat. Hell, KNBC’d probably kick off sweeps week with it. Now if I can just get somebody to show me how to get on Victoria’s Secrets mailing list.


  3. Pingback: Black Dahlia: 1949 Letter Proves Nothing About Dr. George Hodel |

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