The Black Dahlia of Buckhead

Her name was Mary Shotwell Little.

In October of 1965 Mary went shopping at the Lenox Mall – which wasn’t much like the one anyone who knows Buckhead now is familiar with – and after saying good night to the girlfriend she was shopping with she stepped into the parking lot and into nearly 40 years of tantalizing mystery.

The elements of classic mystery are all there, as the first article I’ve linked above states…there was apparently a secret admirer, a blood-spattered car, and receipts signed by Mary days after her disappearance, in another state all together.

Her case is still open. You can find a concise rendering of the facts as they are known here at The Doe Network, a site that lists, by state and country, missing people and dead people found with no identity. I strongly recommend you read through the Doe Networks’ listings of missing people. I paid special attention to Georgia and Tennessee, as I live in one and am from the other, but every state and several European countries as well as Australia are also represented there. It’s a roll call of the damned, a list of those who hover still in limbo.

There are still people around who remember Mary’s case. The FBI agent who was in charge of the case, Jim Ponder, took the file home with him when he retired. The AJC interviewed him about it for this article, published on March 20th of this year. From the article:

…”I have a personal interest in this case,” Ponder says. “I got to know Mary’s family. We never gave them an answer, and that bothered me. It still does.”

I wrote an entry in my own blog about the Doe Network site that mentioned Mary Shotwell Little in passing.Today I got a hit on it. Someone from Chicago googled the name.

It reminds me of the time I wrote an entry mentioning the BTK Strangler, a serial killer who did his evil business in Wichita, Kansas in the early 1970’s, and within a month or so I got hits from someone in Wichita googling that moniker.

Each time it creeps me out. People going missing, vanishing into the night, that creeps me out. The wraith of Mary Shotwell Little makes Buckhead at night feel just a tad more haunted than I like.

I went to the Borders bookstore there tonight. I bought only horror novels.

In the parking lot I went to my car swiftly, unlocked it quickly. Everyone felt a little too close. Why was that man just standing by the CVS, listening to a Walkman? Why was that strange woman staring at me?

Under the sodium vapor lamps that lined the edge of the lot I nodded at the ghost of Mary Shotwell Little, proper 60’s housewife, still posing her thousand unanswered questions to the September night.

And then I fled Buckhead, head heavy with the mystery.

5 Comments so far

  1. Stevie (unregistered) on September 29th, 2004 @ 3:07 am

    Speaking of Ms. Little, look for a new and very interesting documentary on this case from ìyou’re trulyî and “Atlanta metblogs dude”, coming in December of this year! It’s one of my television projects for distribution in 2005. Yes, I am plugging it but, I am a capitalist! I think youíll find a very interesting twist to the story. Stevie.

  2. Stevie (unregistered) on September 29th, 2004 @ 3:11 am

    That’s YOURS TRULY.. sorry.

  3. Jen (unregistered) on September 29th, 2004 @ 10:35 pm

    These last two posts about Buckhead make me want to move! Well that and all the frosted blondes in Expeditions who give me dirty looks for daring to park my Civic in their neighborhoods.

  4. Randall U (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2005 @ 9:01 pm

    Hey, I grew up in Atlanta, back in ’65 I was in the eighth grade at Lakeside High….to this day, I recall the Mary Shotwell Little case…its scarry…..I also lived in Wichita, Ks,….BTK….that was a spooky time too…grin…but they have caught that dude…..but Mary is still out there somewhere…

    oh and ah…

    keep smilin,

    Randall U

  5. win now (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

    You may find it interesting to visit some relevant information about tournament

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