John Sowden House, Alleged ‘Black Dahlia’ Murder Home, Hits Market for $4.89 Million


A month after “the scent of death” was detected in its basement by a trained cadaver dog, the Lloyd Wright-designed John Sowden House in Los Angeles — a purported site of the Black Dahlia murder — has returned to market, asking $4.89 million. The 1927 home, which in February was said to carry “the scent of human decomposition,” was once owned by George Hill Hodel, considered a prime suspect in the notorious murder and dismemberment of a young woman, Elizabeth Short, that caused a sensation in the 1940s.

The Black Dahlia case has inspired several books and movies and the Mayan-influenced house (pictured above) has itself appeared in films including “The Aviator” and “The Rocketeer.” Hodel was never charged in the murder (he died in 1999) and it remains unsolved.

According to our pals at Curbed, a “cloud of mystery” seems to surround the house in “gloomy” listing photos that show off the updates made by the latest owner, designer Xorin Balbes. We’re not sure “gloomy” is exactly the word we’d use for this over-the-top, 5,600-square-foot home, but there’s certainly something a little eerie about the place. Or maybe it’s just the lighting, or the idea that someone might have been murdered there.

But don’t let that put you off: Murder homes, or stigmatized homes, can be excellent deals if you can forgive their grisly histories. (“It might have a terrible history,” said Chris Butler, who lived in the home where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer committed his first murder. “But the house didn’t kill anybody.”) But the John Sowden House might — that decor certainly slays us. The home boasts five bedrooms, six bathrooms and a stunning Mayan-style facade.

See the listing for more details.


Leave a Reply