The Fateof the Black Dahlia MurdererRoute 66


Ed Burns would again confess to the murder (cryptically), then he'd de facto close the case. To the 20th century public, he would always be "the little man who wasn't there." That was Ed's fate. And here is a fated equation: Justice for Elizabeth Short equals 21st-century exposure of Ed Burns and his mimetic monstrosity...


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An item concerning a suicide appeared in the LA Times exactly two months after the Dahlia's remains appeared in the lover's lane: timely. And there are catchy things about the story such as the location of the reported event and the text of a reported note. And a piece of foolscap that hosted the note is a grabber: Ed Burns used a plain white envelope for his first message and a penny postcard for his second message. In combo, these things give off finely tuned Ed vibes.
Something was left out of the reporting: a photo of the note.
Maybe LAPD had gotten in the way of news photographers? Maybe: I couldn't find a photo of the note in any 1947 LA newspaper. But all LA dailies printed the text; that was enough. I'll re-create what had been beelined to LAPD Black Dahlia-file safes.
Here's the LA Times version of the news item:

Newspaper Articles

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Ed's trilogy taught me enough about Ed's cryptic tricks to convert the text into the cryptogram that was left on the beach.

The text of the message

"To whom it may concern: I have waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing, but have not. I am too much of a coward to turn myself in, so this is the best way out for me. I couldn't help myself for that, or this. Sorry, Mary."

A Closer Look at a Note

Kinda like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, huh, Ed . . . OOPS, sorry about that.
I've highlighted and exaggerated the darkness of "Ed Burns," and the look of Ed's perennial "T" pointers, two in this confessional-suicide cryptogram of his, and I've added some illustrative lines. Other than that, what you see is what LAPD got. And that's Ed Burns you're looking at. Only Ed would've conceived and done something like this. I'm just the conduit. . .
There's our man in fully spelled-out clarity, sliding down the line in the middle of the cryptogram. Ed did some brainwork to put "Ed Burns" almost exactly in the widthwise middle of the row group in which it appears. For examples, counting single spaces between words as characters, letter B has 10 characters to either side, letters r and s each have nine characters to either side. Only E and B are capped, as they should be. This is why Ed has "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN" as a preface to his note, and he must've capped the entire phrase: he did this to get a cap E; the phrase is otherwise unnecessary. Ed put conspicuous redundancy in his cipher text. He has an "e burns" in the data to go with the "Ed Burns" going down the middle. There's an e to the immediate left of d, a b to the left of u, a "urn" to the right of r, and an s to the right of the n. Did Ed left-or right-justify the text? He didn't when he hand-wrote his note on the postcard. And a smooth margin would've given him heavy-duty problems on his final note. His "Ed Burns" would've zigzagged unless he scrunched characters. Ed Burns was a straight-line, non-scrunch guy. So his foolscap note looks very much like the 54-years-younger replica. As usual, Ed cleverly used T pointers, this time to control flow, not to insert. As before, Ed left no doubt as to purposefulness: what we observe in all four cryptograms is about as happenstance as 1000 bullseyes in a row.
The outline of Ed's ultimate cryptogrammatic text is shapely, like that of a tall flower vase or a voluptuous woman. And there is this intriguing image: the curvaceous shape of a woman being bisected by "Ed Burns" ...
Ed was the surfer in the birthday suit. But was he trying to fox us? Did he really commit suicide?
Ed was not foxing around. He did commit suicide. Thoroughly and indubitably.

Ed left his clothes and suicide note on the beach,
about halfway between the Venice and Ocean Park piers
.Sunset Municipal Pier
This aerial view shows the "bent" Sunset Municipal Pier, Venice Pier and
Ocean Park Pier... Off in the distance is the Santa Monica Pier.
Contrary to the voiced opinion of 1947 LAPD Homicide Chief Jack Donahoe, Dahlia-killer Burns was taunting nobody with his first three messages. This wasn't their purpose, this wasn't the purpose of Ed's confessional suicide message, this wasn't in Ed Burns' personality makeup. Moreover, Ed would not have picked a locale with great Dahliawise significance to him, to pull off a bluff stunt like faking suicide. The same goes for Ed's Horace Greely walkathon occurring on the two-month anniversary of the murder. Then there's the thing about confessing. It's almost like Ed simply wrote his name vertically down the middle of the note. Would he have done this if he wasn't going to drown himself? And Ed wasn't stupid. He knew that LAPD was never going to close the book on Burns unless his body showed up. And he knew they might not close the Black Dahlia case even if he did wash up; and they didn't.

And if Ed's remains hadn't shown up somewhere, I'd have thought maybe a hungry shark had recycled him, or his remains had snagged something on the bottom, or some Venice beachcombers were ghouls, or (??). But I would not have thought Ed hadn't suicided.

What does Ed's final cryptogram say?
Let's first deal with semantics and stuff in the surface text. At the end, Ed says, "for that, or this . . ." The "this" refers to the suicide. But does "that" refer to "too much of a coward," or to the killing? It must refer to the killing: "coward" is in the present tense, the killing was a done-that and "couldn't" was in the past. Ed used "killing," as he had in his final trilogy installment: and I'm certain he used cap "Is" as he had before, to put I/Ed in the murder. Note the T pointers: t in "too" transfers control to "Ed Burns"; t in "best" transfers control to "I."
The cryptogram says:

To whom it may concern: I have waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing which I did, but they have not. I am Ed Burns. I couldn't help myself for that murder, or this suicide.
Sorry. Mary


Seems like a simple cipher. It is, but maybe it's a tad more complicated than the above.
Look at "or this." Drop i, contract the words, and we have "orths," an anagram for "Short." Plug "Short" in for "or this," and we have "... that murder, Short," or "the murder (of] Elizabeth Short."
And the cryptogram could have this message:

To whom it may concern: I have waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing which I did, but they have not. I am Ed Burns. I couldn't help myself for the murder of Elizabeth Short.


Gee whiz, puzzlers, we're getting the message. But what's with "Mary"? well, There's Something About Mary, and unlike the upbeat 1998 movie, it's grotesque...
What Ed Burns did to the Dhalia was Degnan-murder mimicry:his trilogy affirms this. In Ed's mental muddle, the Dahlia's Degnan obsession and her rejection of Ed had interlocked: the Dahlia had heroized Heirens and intended to hurry back to Chicago. Ed Burns' Degnan-murder mimetism was his way of twisting the Degnan dynamic into a tool of domination over th Dahlia...But Ed's monster juggled two symbolic spheres. Ed mailed photos to the Examiner in his belongings package. One of these photos was the mother of all sleepers. It was a looking-glass for the metaphor that is bared in "The Night Mare" section.
For now, trust me: with "Mary," Ed was saying "mare," and he was saying it to Elizabeth Short.


This is the Ocean Park roller coaster Ed heard from the Breeze Avenue apartment. The roller coaster on the Venice Pier had been inactive since April, 1946.
Ocean Park
View of the beach and the Ocean Park roller coaster.

Ocean Park
View of the Ocean Park Pier and Santa Monica Bay.
The small Bristol Pier and the Santa Monica Pier are further north.

I'm certain Ed Burns' sucide cryptogram says:

To whom it may concern: I have waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing which I did, but they have not. I am Ed Burns. I couldn't help myself for the murder of Elizabeth Short.

Sorry, mare

Speculation about "Sorry, Mary" would've been averted if the Dahlia had scoped the note through a Deterafutura Lens before she phoned Ed from San Diego on 1/8/47 . . .
With "Ed Burns" heading down the middle, and with no profound need for a Degnan Key, Ed's confessional suicide note was easy to recognize as a cryptogram. And it was much easier to decrypt than any of the messages in his trilogy. This could've been part of a weird double-twist.

Maybe Ed's suicide and suicide note were planned, as was the murder. Ed might've said "capture" in the note because he became unavailable once LAPD interrogations convinced him he'd soon be arrested. An arrest would've killed his plan. Ed didn't want LAPD to decipher his trilogy before his suicide. But upon suiciding, Ed gave his readers a tutorial for deciphering his trilogy: an easy-to-decipher suicide note. I think Ed had the aware Angeleno in mind . . . And the note could've been a tutorial on closure of a Black Dahlia murder case . . .
Aware of Taj-aware Angelenos . . . Ed likely figured LA papers would print photos of the note. He might've hoped "Taj Macabre" viewers would decrypt the note, then realize that his first three messages were cryptograms, then decrypt his trilogy and receive the affirmation described later in this site.
With closure in mind . . . Ed confesses once in his trilogy and once in his suicide note. LAPD should regard Ed's suicide as closure of the Dahlia case. The main reason, the smoking pen with shining scalpel, is Degnan-murder mimicry in combination with a Degnan-theme trilogy. The autopsist found the items that had been occulted in Betty's rectum and vagina, and the reentry entree in Betty's stomach; Doc Newbarr noted crisscross-laceration zones in several areas of Betty's body. All of this data was kept secret by LAPD. Had LAPD deciphered Ed's trilogy, possibly after having benefited from Ed's tutorial, they should have known that their Dahlia secrets were Degnan-murder mockery: the excremental entree was a ditto of Heirens' defecatory calling card; crisscross zones were allusions to "sympathetic-schizo" Heirens' postmortem gauze bandages; the cache inside Betty's privates was Suzanne-mannequin certification. Ed's name is interwoven with the trilogy theme and the theme is the Dahlia-murder/Degnan-murder interlink, and the newsfest media never picked up on any of this. With his mimitism-trilogy combo, Ed was telling LAPD he knew secrets that only the Degnan-murder-mocking Dahlia killer would know. Didn't 1947 LAPD hear Ed? Didn't they decipher his messages? . . .
Ed Burns' Degnan mimetism showed he was tuned in to detail and allusion. He suicided on March 14. I believe he had a two-month anniversary in mind and he'd killed the Dahlia on January 14, the day before Betty Bersinger spied Betty Short's remains.
So LAPD sleuthhounds had two Short months to catch Ed: bet on the hare. This played a part in 1947 LAPD Homicide's failure to close the Black Dahlia case. But we don't need Doctor Henry Lee to inform us that something was wrong there!
And about a mysterious Ed Burns interview . . . How did the interview come about? Time was scarce, and Ed Burns was an LAPD secret. Here are two possibilities: (1) The "interview" was part of an LAPD interrogation which bootleggedly made its way to the public; (2) Ed was pathologically preoccupied with the Dahlia. He might have made a dairy/journal of his time with her. He might've written much of it while pining away during the Dahlia's time in San Diego. Maybe a relative of Ed's found the journal after Ed's suicide and passed excerpts of it to a financially appreciative publication. This is a "Here! is Ed's belongings" scenario, with an "Ed is Neptune's now" translation.
In a sentimentally expansive mode, Ed told of taking Elizabeth Short to an apartment by a beach. He described how beautiful her profile was, silhouetted near a wind chime. He told of motionless shadows and a lamp, outlined behind a window shade, with Betty illuminating the entire scene which included an amusement park on the beach. Ed told about the rides going on, and hearing people yelling, and the sound of the roller coaster . . .
And on the two-month anniversary of the murder of his love, Ed returned to this same "happily ever after" pipedream locale. But an amber-ale-pale sun was at a tired pre-equinoctial angle. And Ed saw shadows . . . ghostly shadows of scudding clouds moving across a wintery seascape surrounding a silent roller coaster and gloomy amusement park. And there was no Elizabeth Short. Ed was the loneliest, most solitary being in the universe.

If Ed Burns could not possess and be with Elizabeth Short via murdering her, he'd join her in death, at their
happy place . . .



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