On this day, Jan. 9, 1947, Elizabeth Short, anaspiring actress, disappeared, triggering a criminal investigation in which she was dubbed the "Black Dahlia." A week later, her body was discovered cut in half and mutilated in a Los Angeles parking lot. The mystery had it all: sex, violence and beauty.

Newspapers said Short had been known among her friends as the "Black Dahlia," a play on a movie title, "The Blue Dahlia," and because she liked to wear her black hair up like a bouquet.

Prosecutors said the name was invented by reporters looking to sensationalize the case.

More than 50 people confessed to the murder, and police narrowed the list of suspects to 22. But no arrests were ever made.

The unsolved case has spurred widespread speculation, books, movies and Web sites.

Theories of the killer have ranged from a nightclub owner to a police officer to legendary director Orson Welles.

-Scott McCabe