Unexplained voices, apparitions, and strange sounds are just a few of the experiences guests might have at the Milennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, but the haunted corridors and disembodied voices root themselves in one of the most intriguing and horrifying unsolved murders. In fact, a famous individual spent some of her last moments on earth here. She was later found in Leimert Park in south central Los Angeles (a house now stands where her body was discovered), completely naked, arms above her head akimbo, legs spread eagle, her body bisected. Her face and breasts had been slashed, she had rope burns on her ankles, and had the initials “BD” carved into one of her thighs. Perhaps the title of this post gave it away, but I’m talking about none other than Elizabeth Short. The Black Dahlia.
The Biltmore Hotel was host to many a Hollywood celebrity including Walt Disney and Louis B. Mayer. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Short became famous not from the films in which she starred, but rather the manner in which she was murdered and the fact that her killer was never found. It is said that Short met a gentleman, “Red” Manly, at the Biltmore on January 9th, 1947. They had a brief exchange and Short, who had been awaiting the arrival of some friends, bid Manley goodnight and walked out the main door onto Olive Street. She was never reported being seen alive again.
Guests and staff members at the Biltmore have reported seeing her ghost on the 10th and 11th floors as well as in the lobby. Although there is no real way confirm that Elizabeth Short even visited those floors, many guests have said they’ve felt a presence there, experienced strange issues with their electronic devices (including pictures appearing on their phones of an apparition that appears to be a woman), and saw the full bodied specter of a woman in black in their rooms. In one of the photos I’ve attached at the end of this post, there is clearly some sort of figure standing at the top of the staircase on the right. It appears to be a woman dressed in black with a hairstyle similar to that of Elizabeth Short’s, but I wonder if the photo wasn’t just a cleverly crafted ploy to gain more attention for the hotel.
The lighting conditions within the hotel are bound to cast shadows and make a new visitor take a second look down a long hallway. The architecture and low ceilings can also add to the feeling of heaviness that some might experience and the long hallways can likely carry noise quite well. It is also easy enough to explain away technological issues within the hotel. I know I had trouble with my cell reception and internet access while I was in Houston, TX, for a conference and that hotel wasn’t nearly as old as the Biltmore, which I believe is almost one hundred. A building that old, so deeply rooted in Hollywood history, must contain some serious spirit energy. The ballroom is built on a location that used to be a cemetery. Disturbing the final resting place of countless individuals would likely cause an EMF meter or two to spike. Add the fact that the Biltmore was a rest and recreation facility for soldiers in WWII and you’re bound to experience something.
We might never know what really happened to Elizabeth Short. As for the remainder of the spirits haunting the long hallways of the Biltmore, we can only hope that those spirits will someday find peace.
Have a Dahlia tidbit to share? Stayed at the Biltmore and want to share your experiences? Leave a reply!
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