Dr. George Hodel bought the home in 1940. Hodel at the time was running a shockingly successful venereal disease clinic in Hollywood, servicing some VIP clients. Hodel also had a penchant for hedonistic parties, which some have said were criminal in nature. Allegations by Hodel’s own children paint the image of a severely deranged and cruel man.
Steve Hodel suspected his father was the man who gruesomely murdered and mutilated the Black Dahlia (AKA Elizabeth Short) in 1947. Hodel was a suspect in the Black Dahlia case, though never charged with a crime for reasons that remain a mystery. Sowden House was bugged and suspicious conversations were recorded in which Hodel discusses concealing and getting away with murders.
The evidence was apparently not enough to convict him and the acquitted Hodel abandoned his family in 1950, leaving the country and returning only very near the end of his long life. Steve Hodel, a retired police officer, had found photographs of Elizabeth Short amongst his father’s belongings after he passed away. Steve Hodel subsequently published 2 books on the details of the Black Dahlia murder and his dad’s involvement in the crime.
Years later, cadaver-sniffing dogs were said to have indicated that human remains were on the premises, and Steven Hodel believes that his father was connected to many other deaths in the L.A. area as well. The truth is that we may never really know what went down in this odd and unnerving home.
To this day, the design of Sowden House intimidates people. Even those who fall in love with the home and buy it are not long to stay. The only exception is the Mazur family who bought Sowden House in 1974 and lived there for decades before the spooky home entered into another game of musical owners.