Friday, October 28, 2011

my strange encounter with elizabeth short

last night, i had another dream about her.
a very vivid dream.

in honor of halloween,
i suppose,
i thought i would share this story.

i've never shared it as in depth as i am going to now.
it's been a long time since i've talked about it at all,
and i debated whether to share it for quite some time.

then i realized,
i'm no longer frightened.
i no longer feel immediately threatened.
there is a sort of peace surrounding it,
and it is okay.

let me make this clear:
i do not believe in "ghosts" in the typical sense.
while this shook me and frightened me,
i would not say it is a "ghost" story.
it's a spiritual story that left me confused for several years.

a few years ago, i had large ambitions to enter law enforcement. solving crime, research, interrogating, it all comes easily to me. i became absolutely fascinated the criminal mind. i was spending quite literally all of my leisure time reading books on the justice system, books written by former detectives, books on past crimes, serial killers, white collar criminals, violent crimes. you name it. i was no stranger to this section of the library.

one day, while grabbing my weekly stash of crime books, i came upon the encyclopedia of world crime. i became engrossed in this book. reading page after page, i was filled with a burning desire to help these people, and to understand the minds of the people committing such acts. i wanted to take all of these people who had been wronged and just... comfort them in every possible way. i wanted to make everything right. i wanted to be the one to solve their problems. this feeling was so overwhelming, i had to lay back and take a few deep breaths. tears just ran down my face. i prayed for my own comfort.

immediately after i said amen, i sat up, knocking the book to the floor. when i picked it up, it was opened to a page on the "black dahlia murder". nothing thinking anything of it, i perused this section. i will never forget the way i felt simply sucked in to this story. i couldn't believe it was real. as i was reading about this crime, it felt oddly personal. like i knew her. like it had happened to me. like it was an old memory. i felt tethered to her. i could barely breathe as my eyes darted across the page from one line to the next. i decided to stop reading for the day. the feeling faded as i left my room, but lingered deep in my gut.

i couldn't stop thinking about her, about the murder, about the details surrounding it.

{if you haven't ever really researched it, it's an unusual story. i will leave out the actual crime, but the details surrounding her life are rather blurry. elizabeth short was a beautiful young woman from a small town in massachusetts, moving to florida and then to hollywood in 1946. struggling to make it as an actress, she became a waitress to make ends meet. people described her as very social, often staying out all night or with friends. she had many men interested in her, and many women were jealous of her. because of this, it was not unusual for friends to not see her for a couple days. but when a couple days soon became a week, they knew something was not right. she was found on january 15, 1947. 

as the investigation following her murder gained speed, details were provided by hundreds of people, many of whom did not personally know elizabeth. the suit she was last seen in became a pencil skirt and blouse, then a tight black dress. she was on hollywood blvd when she was last seen. then she was last seen getting into a car in san diego. then she was last seen sleeping at a hotel with a man. all of these conflicting details were throwing LAPD off as they tried to find the truth. the evidence was trampled by reporters and media, deeming her "the black dahlia", photographing her home, her friends, the crime scene. fake, hasty stories were published in newspapers in order to get an edge in the competition. the story was everywhere. she and the killer gained awful fame. the week following the discovery of her body, dozens and dozens of people came forward claiming to be the murderer, none of which knew the details only the real killer would know. the garish and greedy reaction to such a horrifying and widely popular story contaminated any chance of finding out what happened to the poor girl. nothing was for certain.}

in 1950, the case was abruptly declared unsolved. it has remained this way for the past sixty years. the hazy circumstances of her disappearance have fascinated people for decades, and i assumed i was yet another person who had read about the famous murder and felt for her. it wasn't until a few weeks later, when i was reading an additional book that briefly mentioned the murder, that i realized it had consumed me. i had dreams about it. i day dreamed about it. i prayed at night for her spirit. this story wouldn't let me go.

i decided to pursue more research. the next trip to the library was dedicated to elizabeth short. i checked out 9 books dedicated to this crime. when i arrived home, i started going up the stairs to put my books in my library basket, when i got an awful feeling down my spine. the books in my hand seemed to become heavier and the flight of stairs seemed to get longer. i closed my eyes, shook it off, and ran upstairs. i threw the books onto my bed and ran back downstairs. immediately when i set foot in the kitchen i felt relieved. i decided this relief meant that the experience was all in my head. i looked forward to reading those books that night.

as night fell, i made my way up the stairs. the same feeling creeped into my body. again, i closed my eyes, shook it off, and ran up the stairs. i became frightened as i began to open my door, though i did not know why. i found my books exactly how i had left them. jumping into my bed, i picked the shortest book, a nonfiction account of a detective who had taken the case in the 80s. reading it, it was as though the room around me disappeared and i could almost feel the experience in front of me. since the feeling of fright didn't return, i finished the book around 3 am and decided to get some sleep. i was awoken abruptly at 4:27 with seemingly no trigger. i had a very powerful feeling to put all of the books on my bookshelf instead of next to my bed. i never have known why, but after the experiences earlier in the day, i was fully prepared to listen. it was difficult to fall back asleep. the next thing i knew, my alarm was going off. i woke up drowsily and began getting ready for work.

in hindsight and, i'm sure, as a third-party listener, it would make sense for me to cease this personal investigation at this point. truly, however, these feelings seemed to come out of nowhere, and only in hindsight can i realize what they were directing me to. or from, rather. feelings such as these can often be written off as fear of the dark, sorrow for the victim, uneasiness about the subject matter, though, i did stay away from the books for several days after this. at the end of the week, curiosity got the best of me, and i began to head up to my room to read more about her. my trip up the stairs did not provoke any negative feelings. it was when i was in my room where my stomach turned. i could barely enter my room. there was an overwhelming feeling of malice that seemed to emanate off my bookshelf. i said a prayer immediately.

i waited about 5 minutes before stepping in to my room. all was well. i picked up a book. everything was okay. i opened it and started touching the pages. the room remained calm. so i started reading. i finished chapter after chapter. then when i reached a chapter about her personal life, about the details behind her lifestyle, my eyes began watering. {this happens anytime, ANYTIME something is about to happen to my spirit. every time. big or small, my eyes will water, however, i didn't know this at the time}  the room went grey. i could not hear anything. my senses failed me. all i could feel was an overwhelming presence telling me to STOP. sometimes i feel like it was so lucid that i could actually hear someone saying, "ayley, STOP". i was shaking with fear.

i immediately tried to figure out where this was coming from. who was speaking to me. i was not alone. was someone trying to protect me? threaten me? and then i felt it. a cacophony of influences. it was exhausting trying to isolate each one. all at once i felt the fear of poor elizabeth. the anger and cold repugnance of her torturer. the complete sadness Heavenly Father felt for these 2 individuals. and the pure evil and rejoicing of satan.

in this short while while these feelings were with me, i experienced a whirlwind of messages, many of which i dare not repeat, yet all were united with this tune: all of these voices were telling me to cease. i do not know why. i can speculate. the murderer doesn't want to be discovered. elizabeth wants to rest in peace. heavenly father knew i couldn't handle it anymore. all i knew was... i was done.

for days, months after this, i slept in my mom's room. i couldn't enter my room. i had my mom take the books back. i prayed every day for comfort. the feelings were no longer immediately threatening, but the taste lingered. why would i have to stop? what was being hidden? just... why?

i couldn't wrap my head around what happened. my blessing says i will be visited by spirits in my lifetime. was this it? as time went on, i began to focus less on the negative feelings. i began to focus on elizabeth. again, i feel tethered to this girl. like i know her. it may seem a little silly, but i began to wonder if she was angry with me for ignoring the initial signs. maybe she was trying to tell me something. just typing this out makes me sound like a huge believer in ghosts and paranormal activity. i'm not. but this, i could not deny.

her spirit touched me. this, i know.

this made me lose all confidence in other "ghost" stories. the overwhelming presence of another soul feels nothing like i had imagined or been told. there was no ghostly apparition, no doors creaking, no one whispering my name. i did not see anything. the best way i can explain it is like a piece of transparency paper used for a projector. like in grade school. when you hold it up to you in the light, you can create a picture in front of you. add the picture to the scene around you. what is on the transparency isn't actually there, and you know it, but viewing it behind the transparency makes it appear there. you have the knowledge that it's not actually there, but you can view/hear/see/feel it, and it becomes somewhat real.

i know God has my back.

each time i talk about her,
i cry.
once i tried to watch the fictionalized movie,
and i couldn't get through it.

i want to scour the world and find out if anyone else has had a similar experience.
i've heard of many people having "visions"
where they solve the murder,
where she appears to them beckoning toward something that may be a clue.
never this.

i will never ever ever ever forget this.
it gives me yet another reason to look forward
to the afterlife.


  1. Wow! That is very powerful. Fascinating.

  2. Wow, this is so interesting. I am also OBSESSED with forensics. I can 100% relate to your fascination with all of these crimes/criminals etc. I find it so, SO interesting. I'm so curious to know why all of this happened to you too. I hope one day you figure it out!

  3. What an incredible story. Really. Thanks for sharing ayley.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. Those darker things fascinate me too. And my mom has had similar experiences; I have no doubt it was a prompting from Heavenly Father, especially due to what it said in your blessing.


tell me what you're thinking