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Man Dies in Treatment for Freckles

December 11, 2009 |  4:00 am

 Dec. 11, 1919, Oviatt's

Knox hats and caps at Alexander and Oviatt.

Dec. 11, 1919, Freckle Lotion

Dec. 14, 1919, Blaha

Dec. 14, 1919: George Blaha was given a fatal dose of chloroform by his mother-in-law?

Dec. 17, 1919, George Blaha

Dec. 17, 1919: An unusually large amount of chloroform and carbolic acid was found in Blaha’s brain and kidneys, the coroner says.

Dec. 18, 1919, Dr. Gertrude Steele 
Gertrude Steele

Dec. 18, 1919, George Blaha
Dec. 18, 1919: Gertrude Steele is charged with manslaughter in the death of her son-in-law, George Blaha.

Oct. 7, 1924, Dr. Gertrude Steele

Oct. 7, 1924: Steele is charged in the death of another patient.

Oct. 7, 1924, Dr. Gertrude Steele

Dec. 11, 1919: Here’s an especially curious tale – the saga of George A. Blaha who died trying to get rid of his freckles in a procedure performed by his mother-in-law, Gertrude Steele, a naturopath.  Murder charges against Steele were dropped in Blaha’s death because it was unclear what procedures she was allowed to perform as a naturopath. Steele left Los Angeles in 1924, shortly after another patient, Christina Leslie, died when the incisions from her cosmetic surgery became infected. A 1925 story says Steele was reportedly in Germany.