Black Dahlia: BlackDahliaSolution.Org Is Utter Nonsense

Jan. 14, 2020, Jack Pico comment

I usually don’t publish the crackpot comments I get about the Black Dahlia case, but the anniversary of the killing (Jan. 15) is bringing out more than the usual amount of crazy stuff. So I’ll make an exception for this message, which I received today. was the work of John Frederick “Jack” Kohne Jr., who died in 2016 at the age of 83. And please note that I have a folder several inches thick of his material, as he wrote to me frequently using the fake name Jack Pico and the return address of the now-vacant Mailboxes, Etc. in San Diego’s Clairemont Square Mall.

Jack Pico HQ
The now-vacant mail drop of “Jack Pico” (John Frederick “Jack” Kohne Jr.) via Google Street View.

Jack Pico Crackpot Mail

Jack Pico Crackpot Mail
You would think that someone with a purported IQ of 147 would spell my name correctly. Nope.

Pico/Kohne is gone, but he left as his legacy three terrible ideas that have gone viral over the years.

The first is the photoshopped newspaper front page that Pico/Kohne posted on his website. His bogus Page 1 of the Los Angeles Daily News is so popular that it’s been spread all over the Internet and frequently turns up in print. Graphic designers simply cannot resist the image, even though it’s fake. It’s simply too appealing.

The second: Kohne spent hours looking for “hidden” messages in the crackpot mail sent to the police and the newspapers after Elizabeth Short was killed. He made wild inferences and drew geometric figures between letters, eventually deriving the name “Ed Burns.” Kohne elaborated substantially on the fictional “Ed Burns” to the degree that some people believe there actually was an “Ed Burns” (Spoiler: No, he never existed) and that he was considered a suspect. (Nope, never).

Creating “Ed Burns” out of “hidden” messages in crank mail would be bad enough, but there is more.

norton_avenue_pointerThe third: Pico/Kohne was responsible for the insane idea that the body of Elizabeth Short was left on Norton Avenue as a “pointer” to nearby Degnan Boulevard. And from this bizarre notion, Pico/Kohne went to extreme lengths to link the January 1946 killing, in Chicago, of 6-year-old Suzanne Degnan, and the January 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles.

If this sounds at all familiar (and it should if you know much about the Black Dahlia case,) it is because retired LAPD Detective III Steve Hodel stole Pico/Kohne’s ridiculous idea and grafted it onto his own bizarre claims about his father, Dr. George Hodel.

If you think I’m kidding, there it is, at left: Kohne’s beautifully drawn but utterly crazy map – using one of the crackpot postcards sent to police and the newspapers, which he said “proved” that the body of Elizabeth Short was a pointer to Degnan Boulevard.

And no, Detective III Hodel has never credited Pico/Kohne with the idea. Steve Hodel claims he discovered it independently.


And to my correspondent, whom I’m not identifying: I know all about Jack Pico/John Frederick “Jack” Kohne Jr. He wrote to me all the time. I have a file 3 inches thick of his material. I’ve examined it thoroughly and it is the work of a madman. I get awfully tired of fighting the same old arguments over and over again.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Chicago, Cold Cases, Homicide, LAPD and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Black Dahlia: BlackDahliaSolution.Org Is Utter Nonsense

  1. justin says:

    Larry one website which seems to be, if nothing else, a great read is “Black Dahlia in Hollywood.” It speaks with a matter of factness that seems like they have researched the case. Wondering if you’re read this and your thoughts on this?


    • lmharnisch says:

      Many years ago, I met with Monica/Briar a couple of times when she and her friends were setting up BDIH. They seemed like nice, sincere, well-meaning people who, unfortunately, didn’t have access to much information beyond the awful books that had been published, and whatever was online. As I understand it, the board went through some difficulties and changes in its structure and volunteers. I know it’s still around, but that’s about it.

      I generally avoid BDIH because I have learned to never trust anyone else’s research. I always do my own. 100%. I don’t have a user profile or password and have no interest in joining the closed forums. I have a vague awareness of some of the posts because BDIH links to my sites, so I like to backtrack and see what’s up, although the forums are, as noted earlier, closed to non-members.

      The problem with even well-meaning people is that the Black Dahlia case has an enormous cast of characters and an extraordinary number of moving parts, and it’s vital to be able to eliminate the non-essentials — and there are a lot of them. As far as I can tell, the problem with BDIH (and the Wikipedia page, for that matter, which I refuse to read) is “all sides-ism.” Every claim and every theory, even the most ridiculous and outlandish, have their supporters and are treated as if they are somehow equal. Carl Balsiger, for example, is a non-starter, but theories about him abound.

      So I can’t recommend BDIH. I assume people are more or less well-meaning but generally unable to distinguish between what’s correct and what’s one of the many dead ends and false leads in an extremely complicated case. The best source for someone who doesn’t have access to various files that have been released remains the original news stories from 1947.


  2. Tyler Rodriguez says:

    I’ll never understand how people can buy the Degnan street theory. The fact someone who used to work for the LAPD not only believes it but stole it makes me seriously question his police record.


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