Friday, March 02, 2018

Mystery in the Pits

December 21, 1964. Art Worden, photographer for the Herald Examiner. You can see the Prudential Building in the distance

I found this intriguing photograph in the archives of the L.A. Public Library photo collection. The caption reads, "Park maintenance men probe the main pit at La Brea Tar Pits for body of possible suicide victim. Several feet of rain water lays on the surface of bubbling tar."
I looked for further evidence of this event, but could only find one vague reference in another article about this photograph, saying that a witness saw a woman in water near the pit in Hancock Park.
Imagine a cold, dark night in December. You're distraught and lingering near the edge of the tar pit. One sob of desperation and a stumble, BOOM! You're stuck in the tar. Maybe the woman was inebriated. I cannot imagine being cold, miserable AND stuck in tar. I wish I knew the real circumstances of this investigation.
December 21, 1964, Herald Examiner
In the photo above, a night scene, you can see the back of the sculpted bear in Hancock Park as firemen dredge the La Brea Tar Pits.
1937. Photo by Herman J. Shultheis
In the photo above, Ethel Schultheis (left), wife of photographer Herman J. Shultheis, and a friend lean over a flagstone wall looking into one of the tar pits in the background, while a Herman T. Beck sculpture of a short-nose bear sitting on a rock watches over.
People are still fascinated by the La Brea Tar Pits. Scientists are still finding fossils there! Visit the museum near the Pits when you have a chance. This is an unusual bit of REAL history in the center of our beautiful City!

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