Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Devil’s in the Slide: Time and Motion, The Aftermath

Edited for accuracy and clarity 3/4/09.

August 10, 1969
Datum:
LAPD views the Tate and LaBianca murders as unrelated crimes, and assigns two different detective squads to them.
Significance: This slows down the investigation by months. This is really critical, for as Bugliosi explained, the LaBianca investigative team, led by Lt. Paul LePage, was significantly younger than Tate team, and thus immediately realized that the words scrawled on the walls and on Leno’s stomach came from Beatles lyrics. Because of their knowledge of the Hinman investigation, they also had Manson on a shortlist of twenty suspects, long before the Tate team could connect the dots.

August 1969
Datum:
Yul Brynner, Warren Beatty and Peter Sellers offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderers of Tate et al.
Significance: Paul Krassner believed that the existence of secret celebrity sex tapes lay at the heart of nature of the investigation and subsequent cover-ups. Although the three famous actors were openly friends of the Polanskis, Krassner and others (including private and police investigators) feel that their actions were motivated more by the potential damage to their careers had these secret tapes surfaced. Right away, police expressed disapproval of the reward, for it funneled a lot of kooks and treasure seekers into local police stations. Since the cops have to check all possible leads, this slowed down the investigation even further. The eventual recipients of the money: Veronica Howard and Virginia Graham.

August 15, 1969
Datum: Straight Satans raid Spahn Ranch to reclaim their brother Danny DeCarlo, and to destroy the sword used by Manson in his assault on Hinman.
Significance: One by one the wheels are falling off for Manson. Not only has he lost his ticket to stardom and the control of his flock, but he’s lost his shock troops as well. The Satans could have also been upset with the untimely demise of their favorite drug chef, one Gary Hinman.

August 16, 1969
Datum:
Police raid Spahn Ranch, and take twenty-four people into custody. Manson and others escape to Barker Ranch.
Significance: According to the official story, Manson’s life of crime was catching up with him. But to hear people like Deputy Guillory tell it, it could also mean that whoever had watched out for Manson before had no further interest in protecting him from arrest.

August 25, 1969
Datum:
Steve Grogan and Bruce Davis murder Shorty Shea.
Significance: The evidence for this is overwhelming, especially since Grogan would later lead authorities to Shea’s remains. The most likely reason for killing Shea would be because he wanted to tell authorities about the Tate-LaBianca murders, or other criminal activities going on.
Early-September 1969
Datum:
Barbara Hoyt overhears information about the Shea murder.
Significance: Hoyt would become an important witness for the prosecution, especially since she overheard that the killers saying that they attacked Shea because he knew too much about the Tate-LaBianca killings.

October 1, 1969
Datum:
Watson returned to Texas.
Significance: For whatever reason, this cowboy considered his California work done.

October 10, 1969
Data:
(1) Manson picked up in a raid at Barker Ranch. (2) Watson, Kasabian and Krenwinkel still at large.
Significance: (1) This would come to constitute Manson’s last moments as a free man. This ends the Helter Skelter era without so much as a sustained killing effort. (2) Watson had left for Texas, Krenwinkel for Alabama, and Kasabian for New Hampshire. Atkins had already gotten nabbed for the Hinman murder.

November 5, 1969
Datum:
Slippie Christopher Haught found dead.
Significance: Police said this was a suicide, the result of playing Russian Roulette poorly. Bugliosi quipped that Haught apparently liked long odds, since the gun used was fully loaded and wiped clean of prints. In other words, a more reasonable person would suspect that, like Shea, Haught, and later others, would die to keep information safe.

November 26, 1969
Datum:
While incarcerated at Sybil Brand, Atkins tells everything to fellow inmate Veronica Howard, who discusses what she learns with another inmate, Virginia Graham.
Significance: After three and a half months investigation work, police didn’t link the slippies to the Tate-LaBianca murders until one of the participants, Atkins, confessed all. The killers left behind abundant evidence, which included fingerprints. Still, it was word of mouth that ultimately cracked the case.

November 1969
Datum:
Bruce Davis went to England. Despite the knowledge of British authorities that he’s there, no record of his arrival appears in customs documents.
Significance: Bugliosi suspected that Davis went to England specifically to communicate with the Church of Scientology and/or the Process. Bugliosi also had strong suspicions that while there, he murdered Joel Pugh to ensure his silence.

November 25, 1969
Datum:
Bobby Beausoleil trial for the murder of Bobby Hinman ends in a hung jury.
Significance: Lack of notoriety makes it harder for juries to reach a verdict of guilt.

November 30, 1969
Datum:
Watson taken into custody in Texas.
Significance: The extradition fight between Texas and California, due to the efforts of Texas judge David Brown, shows the kind of legal muscle Watson had backing him up, especially when one throws in high-powered attorneys Walshin and DeLoach from California. One would have to wonder why this sort of All-American-kid-gone-to-seed merited the legal red carpet treatment.

December 1, 1969
Data:
(1) Joel Pugh found dead in London hotel. (2) Krenwinkel arrested in Alabama.
Significance: (1) Although officially ruled a suicide, Bugliosi strongly suspected foul play in Pugh’s death, the purpose of which was to ensure his silence on matters relating to “the family” and possible beliefs. Reading between the lines, however, one might suspect that Davis and other might have wanted to ensure Pugh’s silence vis-à-vis the relationship between Manson and British occultists. (2) Krenwinkel and Kasabian's arrest and extradition didn't feature nearly the dramatics of Tex Watson's.

December 2, 1969
Datum:
Kasabian arrested in Concord, NH
Significance: The legal process continues.

December 4, 1969
Datum:
Atkins agrees to a deal with prosecution.
Significance: That the prosecution willingly dealt with her indicates that their case against Manson wasn’t very strong at that point. And despite her professed love for Charlie, she would be happy to sell him out in a plea deal. Might this indicate that her true loyalty wasn’t with Manson, but rather, another guy named Charlie?

1970
Data:
(1) Sometime during the trial, someone put up Paul Watkins in an expensive Los Angeles hotel where he talked with a Mafia attorney. (2) Col. Paul Tate, Sharon’s father, goes undercover to find evidence that will help convict Manson.
Significance: (1) For some reason, the Mob had an interest in this case. (2) As a career intelligence officer, Col. Tate posed as a hippie, traversing about the counterculture in an effort to find out more about Manson to present to Bugliosi. Of course, Manson wasn’t part of the counterculture. So whatever he found out didn’t make it into the prosecutor’s case.

February 20, 1970
Datum:
Bruce Davis arrested on auto theft charges.
Significance: Authorities had yet to connect him with Shea murder. Nevertheless, some of the illegal activities at various Manson hideouts were beginning to unravel.

May 1970
Datum:
Beausoleil petitions for a new trial based on a new affidavit from Mary Brunner, in which she admits to perjuring herself. Brunner changes her story constantly on the stand, and the judge dismisses her testimony.
Significance: This demonstrates the independence of Beausoleil in contrast to the (possible) submission of Brunner. Here, it’s difficult to determine whether Brunner’s simply changing her story out of fear of Manson’s retribution, or if she refused to go along with Beausoleil’s plans to have her perjure her testimony.

July 24, 1970
Datum:
Manson/Atkins/Krenwinkel/Van Housten trial begins.
Significance: The conduct of the trial, or more accurately the conduct of the defendants during the trial, really cemented the impression of Manson and his “followers” as demented. The fact that Manson and the other defendants speak like those in the counterculture further strengthened the association between the slippies and hippies.

September 4, 1970
Datum:
Charlene Cafritz, a woman associated with both the slippies and Sharon Tate died of phenonembutol poisoning.
Significance: Cafritz, who reportedly attended Tate’s funeral, and also donated to Manson’s defense fund, came from a blueblood Washington Family. She was part of the Cass Elliot circle of friends. In March of 1970, police arrested her for possession of heroin near the corner of Wisconsin and O Avenues. That’s a pretty odd place to get busted, for according to Thomas Mahl’s Espionage’s Most Wanted this area happened to be close to where a lot of Cold War spies hung out in their spare time. After her arrest, she stayed at St. Elizabeth’s Mental Hospital, a federally run institution. This had to have been a most unfortunate death for her knowledge of both the Mansonites and of Sharon Tate and her friends would have undoubtedly been of great importance. Curiously, Bugliosi is about the only source who doesn’t mention her. But as with the alleged Esalen visits by Manson, Folger and Tate, this too would have shed more light on potential prior contact between Charlie and his supposed victims.

September 4, 1970
Datum:
The attempted murder of Barbara Hoyt.
Significance: Hoyt would become an important prosecution witness. At the time of her poisoning, however, Hoyt had no plans to testify because of slippie threats against her family in Hawaii. After the attempt on her life, however, she made sure that Bugliosi had all the information she could give him. This is significant because of Hoyt’s survival. Whereas Pugh, Walts, and others died under mysterious circumstances, we have pretty solid evidence and acknowledgement here that the slippies did in fact engage in murder for silence’s sake.

December 2, 1970
Datum:
Bruce Davis turns himself into California police.
Significance: By then, all the murderers were in custody.

January 25, 1971
Datum:
Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten found guilty.
Significance: The trial took such a long time partly because of the complexity of the case (particularly the motive) and partly because of the obstructionist tactics of Manson’s lawyer, Irving Kanarek. Like the OJ Simpson trial, this one received extensive media coverage as it unfolded. Hence, this represents a long time for certain associations to take place and sink—e.g., Manson-hippies-killers-communists, et cetera.

March 29, 1971
Datum:
Ronald Hughes found dead.
Significance: Leslie van Houten’s lawyer, Ronald Hughes, went missing shortly before the trial’s conclusion. Hughes made a big deal about representing Van Houten independently of the other defendants, for, unlike the others, she did not physically inflict mortal wounds on any of the victims. This put her case n a very different light than Manson’s or the others’. Thus, he often did not keep in lockstep with Manson’s wishes, and might have successfully been able to have a jury find his client guilty of a lesser offense. As the researcher using the handle Col. Scott notes, Hughes’ death could very well have resulted from an accident, rendering the attorney a victim of sudden flash flooding. Still, his death could have considerable meaning if he knew something that he wasn’t supposed to, either because of an admission made by van Houten or because of his own investigation.

November 8, 1972:
Datum:
James Willett’s body found
Significance: See entry for November 11, 1972.

November 11, 1972
Datum:
Lauren Willett’s body found
Significance: Post-murder “family” associates James and Lauren Willett might have aided in the death of Ronald Hughes, or someone else. But as the case of Barbara Hoyt shows, the Mansonites weren’t shy about killing someone connected to them. One might suspect there could be other reasons to silence the Willetts.

September 5, 1975
Datum:
Lynette Fromme points her gun at then-President Gerald Ford.
Significance: Some have speculated that Fromme might have been a Manchurian Candidate, a programmed assassin. Although Fromme’s brainwashing by Manson is thoroughly documented, she doesn’t show signs of any particular type of programming. The fact that a similar attempt on Ford’s life would be made weeks later by Sara Jane Moore might give us pause to consider a coordinated effort to take out President Ford, with Fromme’s escapade a mere trial run to test the response time of Secret Service et al. The fact that her chamber was empty doesn’t mean much since she loaded her gun. One can better explain the gun’s failure to go off as sloppiness on her part, not a deliberate “statement” as she now claims.

October 3, 1979
Datum:
After years of threats and attempts on her life because of her role in solving the Helter Skelter murders, Veronica Howard was found bludgeoned to death. She suffered the fatal wounds a couple of weeks earlier on September 21 when assailants kidnapped her, robbed her, and beat her. The kidnappers released her later that day at a desolate intersection. She received medical attention for head injury symptoms (nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc.) on September 25, but the doctors released her the same day. Found comatose October 1, and rushed to Cedars Sinai Hospital, Howard died two days later.
Significance: Howard correctly predicted the cause of her demise, although it probably didn’t strike her as occurring in the manner it did. In most homicides, the victim doesn’t live weeks between the mortal wounding and the end. During this time, Howard could give statements to police, who quickly ruled that the assault/kidnapping had nothing to do with the Manson case. It’s odd too that a hospital would find nothing wrong with her and release her with a life-threatening injury. You’d think they’d keep her overnight for observation, at the very least.



December 28, 1983
Datum:
Dennis Wilson drowns during a routine swim.
Significance: Despite the presence of alcohol in his system, Wilson often swam and drank. He had of late been musing over the Helter Skelter murders, leading some to speculate further silencing. But he seemed generally depressed and alienated, leading some to suspect suicide.

November 11, 1985
Datum: Authorities grant parole to Steve Grogan.
Significance: Citing in large part his willingness to disclose the location of Shea’s remains, the parole board decided he had changed significantly to merit release. What’s interesting here is that his crimes were no less heinous than the others, and he showed as much remorse as most of the others. Yet, he’s the only one of them free. This demonstrates that releasing one of the Manson killers isn’t all that extraordinary. The only thing that seems to make a difference is whether or not one’s victim is one of the beautiful people.

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The Devil’s in the Slide: Time and Motion, The Murders

July 25-27, 1969
Datum:
The slippies slowly torture and murder Gary Hinman. (For details of the Hinman slaying, click here.)
Significance: This is the first murder definitely connectable to Manson. Because of the time they took to kill him, and the threats that they made before doing so, one would have to think that they didn't have killing him in mind when they paid him a visit. But kill him Beausoleil did. Although he visited the scene, and participated in the assault by cutting Hinman with a sword, Manson most likely didn’t have anything further to do with Hinman’s death, which seems almost exclusively the work of Beausoleil, with help from Susan Atkins. Mary Brunner, herself at the scene, would later testify that Manson ordered the killings after first testifying that he did not. She would then recant the correction and stand by her initial statement.

July 26, 1969
Datum:
Police rescue six-year-old Anthony Gibbons from Georgina Brayton’s OTO lodge.
Significance: This event busted up Brayton’s Solar Lodge. Brayton, an LA realtor, had moved out to Riverside County, CA because she suspected that a cataclysmic race war would brew shortly in Los Angeles. She also believed that she had actively helped to cause this race war. Since Manson, an eclectic who borrowed from everything he came across, had contact with the Solar Lodge OTO, and the British-based Process Church, we might wonder if his Helter Skelter motive might have represented an attempt by either group, acting or alone or in concert, to push along this common goal of all three by embarking on killings and then framing Black Panthers (as they killers did with the Hinman slaying by painting a panther paw print on the wall with the victim’s own blood). One could possibly speculate that if the Process and Solar Lodge worked together on this end, that might best explain the British accented female voice callers to Hinman’s phone heard during the “family’s” last visit. It could also account for the fact that the only person arriving at the door spoke to a woman who had no ties to the slippies.

July 31
Datum:
Police discover the body of Gary Hinman.
Significance: Ed Sanders credited Sergeants Charles Guenther and Paul Whiteley for not only solving the Hinman murder, but the Tate-LaBianca murders as well. Although other detective teams worked on those cases, and deserve the credit for linking Manson et al to the crimes, the fact remains that the Hinman case was the key that connected the slippies to Hinman (by Beausoleil’s presence in the decedent’s car), and the Hinman murder to the Tate-LaBianca murders (the similar MO, with words spelled out in the victims’ blood).

July 30 or August 1, 1969 (Depending on source)
Datum:
Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger call the Esalen Institute.
Significance: See entry for August 3, 1969.

August 3, 1969
Datum:
Manson takes off for Big Sur. According to Sanders, he went to the Esalen Institute.
Significance: There is some confusion as to when Manson first arrived at Esalen, but he certainly made the trip. And there’s a very good chance that Folger and Tate were there at the same time.

August 4, 1969
Data:
(1) Bobby Beausoleil arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman. (2) Manson meets Stephanie Schram, and beds her.
Significance: (1) According to Manson, the girls cooked up the Tate-LaBianca murders as copycat crimes, hoping to win Beausoleil's release by proving that Hinman’s murderer was still at large. (2) To Manson, Stephanie Schram represented the paragon of pureblooded Teutonic femininity. Despite the fact that he smacks her around every now and then, Manson is otherwise smitten with her. She accompanies him around Big Sur and the Esalen Institute.

August 5, 1969
Data:
(1) Manson auditioned for several people at the Esalen Institute. (2) Billy Doyle allegedly “video-buggered” by Sebring and Frykowski.
Significance: (1) Getting turned down by the high-faluttin’ crowd at Esalen might have given a hypersensitive Manson motive enough to kill, especially if he knew who two of the naysayers were, and where they lived. If you’re wondering if Bugliosi followed this as a lead, the answer is he did, at least to a limited extent. In a footnote, he writes in Helter Skelter that Folger and Tate made routine visits to the Institute, and usually telephoned a few days in advance before coming up. Thus, there’s a strong possibility that they came up, and if so there’s a good chance they came into contact with Manson. But as Buglosi also points out, they could have just called to “locate “someone. If that’s true, as a county prosecutor, Bugliosi had the wherewithal to ascertain whether or not they were there with Manson days before their murder—certainly that could be relevant. All he would have to do is subpoena records of the Institute, or talk to folks there. There’s also the possibility that Bugliosi found out, and simply chose not to disclose that information. (2) Sebring’s secretary confirmed that her boss complained about getting burned on a drug deal days before his murder. The video-buggering supposedly consisted of a filmed rape of Doyle, the alleged culprit, by Sebring and Frykowski, so that it could serve as a warning for anyone else who either wanted to burn them, or tap into their exclusive Hollywood narcotics market. If the tape exists, it gives credence to the hypothesis that Watson was hoping to take over the entirety of Hollywood’s drug cartel, for Frykowski and Sebring were nothing other than well backed competition.

August 6, 1969
Datum:
Manson and Schram return to Spahn Ranch late that night.
Significance: The couple merely crash there and leave out the next morning. For a man who’s supposedly hell-bent on starting a cataclysmic race war that starts in a couple of days, he seems to have other things on his mind.

August 7, 1969
Datum:
Manson and Schram leave Spahn Ranch early in the morning to visit her sister. Manson rants about a looming cataclysmic race war.
Significance: The prosecution argued that Manson’s constant talk about Helter Skelter proves that this was in fact his motive. Yet, as we will see, there’s another way to see these rants, another context that perhaps better explains how they actually figure into the whole scheme of things.

August 8, 1969
Data and significance:
(1) Manson and Schramm returned to Spahn Ranch at 2:00pm, which is rather late to arrive if you plan on something monumental later that night

(2) Manson finally learns about Beausoleil’s arrest for Hinman’s murder. In some ways, this shows just how much he had kinda left the “family” vibe at Big Sur. Truth be told, he might have even been sick of the slippies by then.

(3) He discusses his trip to Esalen with the slippies, in part to explain Schram’s presence to the other women. Obviously, Schram, an unindoctrinated outsider, would have stoked their jealousy, specially if Charlie gave any sign that he saw her as an ideal woman (they might have asked, “What are we? Chopped liver?)

(4) Some sources say that he declared “Now is the time for Helter Skelter.” Other sources say that Susan Atkins and the other slippies came up with what Manson thought to be a harebrained scheme to rescue Beausoleil by committing copycat murders. Quoting Gorightly:

When Charlie heard the cock-eyed plan his band of balmy babes were planning to hatch, he told them they were out of their gourds, and that the cops would never go for such a corn-ball scheme. In response, Sadie blurted out, ‘It will work, Charlie [emphasis Gorightly’s]. At Gary’s house, we wrote things on the wall like ‘Political Piggie’ and drew a panther’s paw and that kind of stuff. We can do it again and they will think the niggers did it. It will be Helter Skelter!
Gorightly further casts suspicion on the official version by comparing it to all of Manson’s other actions. It's hard to prove that Manson actually ordered anyone to do anything:

In retrospect, this all makes good print, though it seems a bit too pat and choreographed, as it is well noted that Manson was a master at dropping subtle hints to achieve his desired ends. As Phil Kaufman stated, 'Charlie planted seeds.'
In Manson in his own Words, Charlie explained that he never intended to start any cataclysmic race wars, but now these followers were throwing his own words back in his face. Lynette Fromme apparently rebuked him for deciding to leave the slippies to themselves, chastising, “No, you can’t go, love is one. We are one. If one goes, we go together.

Atkins supposedly chimed in, “Don’t leave us, Charlie,. Stay here. We need you. We can do whatever is necessary, and we won’t send you back to jail.”

According to Watson, Manson gave explicit orders for him to go kill people to start Helter Skelter. According to Manson, he asked Watson to help comply with the girls’ plans, and Watson eagerly volunteered. Manson specifically did not mention killing, due to his jailhouse legal understanding that this would involve him in the actual murder and send him back to prison.

(5) At 4:00, Brunner and Good were busted attempting to use a stolen credit card. They telephone Fromme from jail at around 10:00. It’s possible that they were attempting to secure supplies for the attack that night. But it’s interesting that two of the women closest to Manson would be in police custody once the killing began.

(6) After dinner, Charlie orders Barbara Hoyt to find some dark clothes. This is how Barbara, the newcomer, first becomes aware that something strange is going on.

(7) Manson then speaks to Kasabian, Krenwinkel and Atkins separately, telling all three to get a change of clothes and a knife, meet up with Tex, and do everything he says. Years later, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Manson explained that he worded this request specifically because he didn’t want a prosecutor to say that he had ordered the murders when he in fact didn’t. It’s important to note that Krenwinkel, Atkins and Van Houten have admitted that Manson told them only to follow Tex, even though they usually add that it was their belief Tex would carry out Manson’s orders. But we still only have the words of Watson for that, and he has good reason not to be completely candid about who actually gave the order to kill.

(8) As they pull out, Manson tells them to leave a sign, “Something witchy.” As the old Ford lumbers off, Hoyt straggles in a day late and a dollar short with some old clothes. Manson informs her that the others have already left. Years later, Hoyt would speculate that she was too new at that point to automatically jump at Manson’s command. If so, she would have been a wildcard, not someone that the "family" could easily predict.

(9) Linda Kasabian drives Susan Atkins, Charles Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel to 10050 Cielo Dr. Atkins and Krenwinkel assist Watson in the slaughter of Steve Parent, Wojiciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Sharon Tate (For details of the Tate killing, click here.)

August 9, 1969
Data and significance:
(1) Atkins Watson and Krenwinkel stop at a house where they see a garden hose attached to a spigot. They begin to wash themselves, but the homeowners, Mr. and Mrs. Rudolf Weber, chase them off. The killers later finish washing up in a gas station along the way. This means that there were at least two potential witnesses who could have provided forensic evidence of the crimes had police known about them. But it also gives us even more good evidence that Watson killed with the help of the women.

(2) Charles Manson waits back at Spahn Ranch for their return. To say wait, is a bit strong, though. Speaking specifically, Manson was dancing naked on the boardwalk of Spahn Ranch, wondering what they were doing back so early.

(3) In the morning, Atkins sees information about the murders on the news. Police take 10050 caretaker William Garretson into custody for questioning. He is initially a suspect. (For a brief time, police consider Roman Polanski a suspect as well.) The police incompetence at this point gives Atkins and the other killers a huge guffaw, one that baffles the hell out of Hoyt.

(4) Kasabian drives Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, Watson and Van Houten to the LaBianca residence, where they kill Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. The fact that Manson accompanied them this night signifies that if they were going to carry out crimes, they had to do them right, lest they get caught. In contrast to the wildness of the Tate scene, these killings were much more orderly. (For more details about this night, click here.)

To read earlier posts in this series, click here.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Devil’s in the Slide: Time and Motion, Pre-Murders (1969)

February 12, 1969
Datum:
Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate rent 10050 Cielo Dr. from Rudy Altobelli.
Significance: This puts Polanski, Tate and their friends onto Manson’s radar, so to speak. Since these are familiar stomping grounds for Charlie and his group, one could reasonably expect some sort of contact between the murders and their victims. Watson's main friend within the cult, Dean Morehouse, had lived in the guesthouse. Since Watson would undoubtedly visit his friend frequently, the hypotheses based on randomness do not seem as credible.

March 1969
Data:
Abigail Folger and two unidentified others watch on as Frykowski films two women skinny dipping in the 10050 Cielo Dr. pool. Reportedly, these women are Atkins and another slippie. (2) Mansonites begin to creepy-crawl.
Significance: (1) A number of people identified one of the two women in question as Susan Atkins. Atkins has since confirmed this. While Bugliosi concedes that Manson kinda accidentally spoke to Tate once (thus maintaining the randomness hypothesis of the crime), he doesn’t mention other possible contacts between other slippies and the victims, or between Manson himself and the other victims. If the women were that used to swimming in the pool, then it wouldn’t be that difficult to believe that they continued this activity, perhaps unaware that Altobeli had new tenants who had only been there a few weeks. Even if they had known that Morehouse had left by then, that wouldn't necessarily discourage them from taking their chances with the new tenant. (2) While they might have started as a bit of harmless fun, the creepy-crawl missions would escalate into burglary and ultimately murder. In some ways, this bolsters the official story in that it’s consistent with Manson developing a maniacal plan (Helter Skelter), developing it for a few months, and then taking action upon it. On the other hand, it more generally shows that the slippies were getting training in covert ops. We would later learn that Tex Watson provided the bulk of the training.

March 23, 1969
Datum:
Manson’s only stipulated encounter with Sharon Tate. Looking for Melcher, Tate informs him that he is no longer there.
Significance: Curiously, Manson and Tate would have other opportunities in which to come into contact, but this is the only one stipulated by everyone. There were a number of witnesses to the event. Then too, it would seem that Manson didn’t realize that Melcher had left until Atkins, Morehouse and others presumably told him about Frykowski, Folger and their friends.

March 24, 1969
Datum: On a flight to Rome, Rudy Altobelli explains Manson to Sharon Tate.
Significance: As the owner of 10050 Cielo Dr., Altobelli could understand why Manson might come back to the house--to entice yet another celebrity into yet another bizarre belief. That Altobelli would have to explain Manson to her suggests that Tate had no foreknowledge about Manson at the time of their encounter. It also implies that Altobelli had little faith in the gospel according to Charlie.


May 27, 1969
Datum:
Darwin Scott found murdered in his apartment.
Significance: Witnesses linked the death of Manson’s uncle to the appearance of a group of “hippies” who were never charged, apprehended, or as far as we know identified. Mae Brussell believed that the media coverage in the months between the crimes and the criminal charges filed against Manson et al vacillated between suspicion of “hippie” suspects and “Black Panther” suspects. Bugliosi and others played up Manson’s supposed biracial identity throughout the trial. Thus, Mae might have suspected that he and others were trumpeting a line that would cast both the counterculture and African Americans in an ill light (i.e., “See what all this race-mixin’ and free love, and drugs, and anti-Americanism gets ya?”). However, if Scott were around during the trial, then any thought of Manson being African American would fall flat on its face. As Adam Gorightly clearly demonstrates, the myth of Manson’s biracial heritage survived unquestioned for decades.

Summer 1969
Datum:
Watson begins to train the women for combat.
Significance: The women all identified Watson as their guru of black ops. It’s true that they could very well have taken the training because they believed that Manson had ordered it, or at least wanted it. But the only person telling them to do anything is Watson. And the only reason we have to think that Manson ordered this training is because Watson said so. But Watson has demonstrated numerous times over the years that he’s really good at lying. And he has a certain cache of charm and good looks (even to the present day) that could help others buy whatever snake oil he’s got for sale. He could very well have lied to Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van Houten and the others, using their affection for Manson as leverage to push them closer to violence.

June 3, 1969
Datum:
A loud argument erupts between Manson and Melcher at Spahn Ranch. Jacobson and Mike Deasy witness the confrontation, along with an actress named Sharona,’ ‘Shona,’ or ‘Sharon.’ The actress in question does not appear to be Tate.
Significance: This marks the beginning of the end of Manson’s dream, thus fostering the basics of the official story. If the only thing that compelled Manson to leave prison were taken away, then he would have little reason to remain on the straight and narrow, and perhaps even more incentive to embark on some goofball scheme like Helter Skelter. This could have been exacerbated by the fact that Melcher dressed him down, on his home turf, in front of his followers, consequently belittling him in front of the only people who ever looked up to him.

Late-June 1969
Datum:
Kasabian joins the slippies.
Significance: Kasabian drove the killers to the Tate-LaBianca murders and testified, as the state’s star witness, to the Helter Skelter scenario and her role in it.

c. July 1, 1969
Data:
(1) Manson buys the rope used in the Tate slayings. (2) Manson tells Diane Lake that he’s going to have to “start this revolution.”
Significance: (1) At first blush, this would indicate that Manson was actively preparing to commit a crime. But when you stop to think about it, lots of people need rope from time-to-time for any number of purposes, the vast majority of them legal. And one could see the practical value of having rope on, say, a ranch. (2) The source for this comes from hearsay, specifically from Lake. Lake was in a very nasty position in 1969. She was fifteen years old, sexually abused by the slippies with the full consent of her parents at the Spiral Staircase, and handed over to them, kinda like a gift, or a sex pet. By the time she’s taken into custody, she trusts no one, but only talks when befriended by Inyo County Deputy Sheriff Jack Gardiner and his wife. Authorities credited her with providing valuable leads and corroboration. Truth be told, however, someone that vulnerable could tell authorities anything she thinks they might want to hear, especially if it shifts focus towards Manson.

July 1, 1969
Datum: Manson shoots Bernard Crowe.
Significance: Although perhaps underplayed by Bugliosi in Helter Skelter, this event probably did as much as any other to compel Manson to accept the actions that took place on the weekend of August 8, 1969. First of all, it really demonstrates the nature of Manson and Watson’s relationship. Watson burned a drug dealer out of thousands of dollars. Manson bailed him out of the situation by killing the drug dealer. Or so he thought. This was the closest Manson ever came to actually killing someone. Manson thought he had murdered Crowe until after getting charged with the Tate-LaBianca murders, when police arranged for the incarceration of both in the same section of the jail. Moreover, Manson supposedly believed that Crowe was a Black Panther. According to Manson, Deputy Sheriff Preston Guillory and other researchers the slippies’ vigilance against the Panthers, and their belief in a head-to-head confrontation led authorities to overlook their chop shops and other illegal doings.Of course, when no confrontation came, that led to the raids at Spahn and Barker ranches. Secondly, Manson paid a heavy price for this permanently ended his musical aspirations at the level he had already grown accustomed to.  Gregg Jacobson’s friend, Byrn Lukashevsky, witnessed the events firsthand. But what this really comes down to is that Watson seems to be calling more shots, and using Manson as a liaison between himself and recalcitrant parties he cannot influence. Manson, after all a scrawny five-foot-two man who’s spent most of his life incarcerated by that point, has a knack for persuasion. Watson might very well have figured this Manson character could talk both of them out of trouble.

July 18, 1969
Datum:
Police discover body of Mark Walts near Spahn Ranch. Slippies immediately suspected, but never prosecuted.
Significance: Manson et al weren’t the only people using Spahn Ranch as a base of illegal activity. There were other criminal types and biker gangs that came by frequently. But if the slippies murdered Walts, it would indicate that they had become violent and able to kill shortly before Helter Skelter. In terms of the official story, this might have served as a warm-up.

To read later posts in this series, click here.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Devil’s in the Slide: Time and Motion, Pre-Murders (1967-1968)

Here, we’re going to take a look at the motion of various players in this drama as it unfolds, in order to grasp what it is we’re actually looking at. This timeline is quite selective, and by no means exhaustive. To see a complete timeline, check out the one at CharlesManson.com.

March 21, 1967
Datum: Manson released from Terminal Island
Significance: Manson fought against his release, and had to be persuaded to leave. The fact that he got top notch legal counsel from George Shibley shortly before his release makes us wonder why an a-list Beverly Hills lawyer had an interest in Manson.

April 1967
Datum: Manson meets and moves in with Brunner at 646 Cole St., San Francisco
Significance: “Mother Mary,” as the other slippies referred to her, became the first “family” member. She’s arguably the person closest to Manson. This address is also close to Process activity.

Summer 1967
Data: (1) Manson meets Susan Atkins. (2) Paul Watkins also hanging out in SF.
Significance: (1) Atkins becomes one of the primary killers. (2) Watkins, at one time, Manson’s second-in-command.

July 28, 1967
Datum:
Manson arrested; gives name as Charles W. Manson.
Significance: Seeing that his name is actually Charles M. Manson, we have an explanation for how he might have slipped through the bureaucratic cracks, and thus might have gotten arrested without getting his parole yanked too.

September 1967
Data:
(1) Krenwinkel leaves everything behind to join slippies. (2) Bruce Davis meets Manson in Seattle.
Significance: Krenwinkel and Davis were two of the murderers.

September 11, 1967
Datum:
Putative date of Manson’s first recording session.
Significance: The possibility of music stardom would in large part be the carrot luring Manson out of prison. This shows a timely effort to prod him along the rock star cursus honorum.

December 1967
Datum:
Charles Watson arrested and put on probation on marijuana charge.
Significance: (1) This event shows us a bit of who Watson was before meeting Manson. (2) Mae Brussell wondered why Tex would need lawyers, since he had been in no legal trouble. This shows that Brussell was in error on this point. At the same time, a penny ante charge like this doesn’t explain why Watson needed, or how he paid for, such high powered attorneys as Perry Walshin and David DeLoach.

Winter 1967-8
Datum:
Sandra Good joins the slippies. She also gives them $6,000.
Significance: Good would later become the dominant spokesperson of the slippies until a few years ago. We would have to wonder why a rich East Coast woman with a personal commitment to the civil rights movement flies across the country to give money and material aid to a bunch of racist yahoos led by a petty crook.

February 1968
Data:
(1) Manson briefly lives with Beausoleil in Topanga Canyon. Also living with Melba Kronkite, a wealthy woman to whom Manson lends thousands of dollars.
Significance: (1) Beausoleil is one of the killers, and has a reputation of acting independently of Manson. (2) In part, the dalliances with wealthy women partly explain Manson’s finances. The five thousand stolen by Linda Kasabian and given to Manson, the six grand he got from Sandra Good, and the continuing monies he allegedly received from Dennis Wilson and Charlene Cafritz would go a long way in fostering chop shopping, identity theft, drug traffic and all the other criminal activities the slippies engaged in.

March 1968
Datum:
Manson Meets Harold True in LA, and comes over to his house.
Significance: True lived next-door to 3301 Waverly Drive; Los Angeles, CA—the residence of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. This shows that Manson et al had a definite connection to the area, and suggests that Manson and the LaBiancas had come across each other.

Spring 1968
Datum:
Dennis Wilson picks up Patricia Krenwinkel.
Significance: Wilson’s fame helps Manson gain entrance to a world of celebrity that included himself and the other Beach Boys, John Phillips, most likely Cass Elliott, and possibly Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring. Dennis Wilson’s house provides a number of other contacts for Manson.

Summer 1968
Data:
(1) The Mansonites eat Dennis Wilson out of house and home. (2) Beausoleil takes residence with Hinman. (3) Dean Morehouse, living at Wilson’s, meets Watson and Introduces him to Manson.
Significance: (1) Wilson is not only a major benefactor, but Manson’s chief link to his dreams of fame and fortune. Moreover, he’s his link to a lot of Hollywood and music industry people. (2) Hinman’s ability to cook up the most popular drugs of the day in his homemade lab would obviously become of interest to the illegal money-making schemes embarked upon by Manson, Beausoleil, Watson, and other male slippies. (3) Rev. Morehouse, introduced to Dennis by Manson, becomes almost a permanent fixture at the Wilson home. Taking on the role of a senior mystic in the church of acid and Charlie, Morehouse is credited by the official story as Tex’s main brainwasher, the one who worked harder than anyone (including Manson) to entice him into the fold.

August 1968
Datum:
Dennis Wilson gets word of Rev. Morehouse’s unwelcome sexual advances, and kicks him out of his house. Manson arranges with Melcher to allow the Rev. to take residence in the guesthouse of 10050 Cielo Dr, Benedict Canyon.
Significance: First of all, this illustrates to some degree the faith that Melcher had in Manson’s value as a musician/entertainer. After all, starmakers don’t have time to waste with wannabes. Melcher also doesn’t seem intimidated by Manson, at least at this time. Secondly, this establishes not only Manson’s connection to the site of the Tate murders, but of the other family members as well. Not only did Morehouse and Watson spend a lot of time there, but some of the women, including Susan Atkins, also visited there to use the swimming pool. This really challenges Bugliosi’s assertion that there was no connection between the victims and the killers.

August 9, 1968
Datum:
Recording session put together by Jacobson.
Significance: This represents a step up in class, an effort by serious industry professionals to make Manson a star.

Winter 1968
Datum:
Despite Dennis Wilson’s precarious situation within the band, due to slippie and drug issues, the Beach Boys record “Never Learn not to Love.”
Significance: First off, one can tell that the Beach Boys did their best to arrange and perform the song. The fact that they actually played this on television shows they took the promotion of it seriously too. “Never Learn not to Love” peaked as a flip side in the low-sixties on the Billboard pop charts. Although this is hardly something that a band of the Beach Boys’ caliber and previous success would write home about, this does, technically, give Manson his first hit record. In other words, this legitimates Manson as part of the youth music scene, to some extent.

September 1968
Datum:
True moves away from the LaBiancas.
Significance: Linda Kasabian said that she recognized True’s house as a familiar one. Well, that kinda makes sense, since the slippies visited True. But Kasabian joined the family in 1969. That makes us wonder whom Manson and/or Watson might have been seeing in that neighborhood after True left.

December 1, 1968
Datum:
Watson and Manson hear The White Album for the first time, eight days after its release.
Significance: The White Album became the cornerstone of the prosecution’s case against Manson, Watson, Krenwinkel, Atkins and Van Houten. Bugliosi and co-counsel Steven Kay posited that Manson heard the lyrics of this album as a call to violent action

December 31, 1968
Datum:
Manson reportedly began to talk about his interpretation of The White Album.
Significance: This would imply that it took Manson about a month to formulate a theory of Helter Skelter based on the lyrics of the Beatles coupled with the apocalyptic tenets of the Process Church of the Final Judgment and the Solar Lodge of the OTO.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Devil’s in the Slide: Official Help

Edited for accuracy 9/18/10.

It really struck Mae Brussell that the Manson family grew, prospered, and murdered with government help in the form of convenient official oversights, and extraordinarily bizarre legal actions. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi commented on this aspect of the case numerous times. In each, he does not give any indication of a large or consistent pattern of behavior on behalf of officials. Rather he cites the strangeness on the individual quirks of the authorities involved.

Whatever the case, the handling of Manson and his people by some authorities seems downright odd. What’s more, it’s consistent. Third, they allowed Manson and/or the “family” to continue their operations until several months after the murders.

From early on, one could see that Manson enjoyed a rather curious relationship with his parole officers. Samuel Barrett, Manson’s parole officer in the 1950s, didn’t seem to keep any tabs on Manson at all. As Bugliosi wrote:

Barrett was a most unimpressive witness….Repeatedly, Barrett minimized the seriousness of the various charges against Manson prior to the murder. The reason he did this was obvious: otherwise, one might wonder why he hadn’t revoked Manson’s parole….Manson associated with ex-cons, known narcotics users, and minor girls. He failed to report his whereabouts, made few attempts to obtain employment, reportedly lied regarding his activities….There was more than ample reason for parole revocation.
Manson’s rather unique relationship with his parole officers also seemed to continue after his 1967 release. Roger Smith, his probation officer in San Francisco, didn’t seem to make a serious effort to check in on Manson. Otherwise, he would have found numerous parole violations that included the trafficking of Susan Atkins and others for sex. Curiously, Smith retired sometime into Manson’s parole at about the time that a man looking very much like Roger Smith, and who called himself Dr. David Smith, began volunteer work for the San Francisco Free Clinic, where Manson and his females routinely went to cure themselves of venereal diseases, and where Abigail Folger and her mother volunteered.

Figure 1 Roger Smith



Figure 2. Dr. David Smith



Some, like Gorightly, believe that Roger and David Smith are one and the same person. Whether they are or not, Dr. David Smith took on an extraordinary responsibility on behalf of the “family.” After Mary Brunner’s arrest for indecent exposure (specifically, breast-feeding outdoors), she lost custody of her and Manson’s son Michael. Dr. Smith volunteered as a foster parent for Michael Brunner, returning the infant to Mary once she had served her jail term.

That seems like quite a bit for a doctor to put out, whether or not he was Manson’s parole officer at one time. But still, one has to wonder why the parole officer who succeeded Smith gave Manson so much slack. As Bugliosi himself noted, during the first six months of 1969 Manson had been arrested and charged with six felonies. The charges alone could have prompted parole revocation.

By the way, Manson’s parole officer in 1969 was Samuel Barrett—the same parole officer he had a decade earlier.

Then there were a number of crimes that went either unprosecuted, or underprosecuted. For instance, former member Barbara Hoyt, under threat of harm to her parents, flew to Hawaii in order to stay clear of a subpoena. Despite her agreement to keep silent, the slippies still tried to murder her by lacing her food with a lethal dosage of LSD.

Most sources indicate that for LSD, LD50 – i.e. you can expect 50% of people ingesting that amount to die--ranges from twelve to twenty-five milligrams. The five grams (200-450 halfway lethal doses) given to Hoyt should have killed her at least once, and wiped out any future chance she might have had for reincarnation. You can’t just casually buy that off the street with your spare change. Where did they get it?

By some miracle, Hoyt survived, now more willing to testify than ever. Yet despite the attempt on her life, Judge Stephen Stothers inexplicably sentenced four of the five defendants to a mere ninety days in jail for causing her near-death experience. If nothing else, you would have figured that the possession charge alone would have at least been worth three years, if not more for intent to distribute. Ironically, the slippie who personally administered the poison, Ruth Ann Morehouse, served no time at all. One could therefore wonder if Stothers wanted to protect the Family or the possible source of that LSD—especially if it came from a CIA source, as a lot of acid did back in those days.

Lynette Fromme, who more or less took command of the “family” after Manson’s arrest, seemed to enjoy a particularly cozy relationship with the Prosecutor’s office, much to Bugliosi’s shock and dismay. Although she had obviously masterminded a shootout, two jailbreak attempts, a gun store robbery, and the murders of Ronald Hughes, James Willett and his wife Lauren, she never received so much as an indictment. Deputy Los Angeles County DA William Melcher (no relation to Terry Melcher) apparently believed in her repeated “innocence,” declaring that he “wanted them to know that justice also works on their side of the street.” Fromme eventually found herself wandering in a park across the street from President Ford. She approached him, and managed to point her loaded gun with its empty chamber at him before taking a pummelling from Secret Service.

Had Melcher been doing his job, Ford’s life need not have been in jeopardy until Sara Jane Moore took a shot at him two weeks later.

And the official help extended far and wide. Darwin Scott, Manson’s alleged uncle, was found murdered in his Kentucky apartment shortly before the Tate-LaBianca murders. Witnesses attributed the slayings to “a bunch of hippies,” who were never actually identified or apprehended.

Joel Pugh had left the ‘family’ for England in April of 1969, a month before Scott’s slaying. On October 27, after the arrests at Barker Ranch, but before police could charge Manson with the Tate-LaBianca killings, he took refuge in London’s Talgarth Hotel. Police discovered his body in his room on December 1, 1969. His throat was slit twice, and two razor blades were found, one a considerable distance from the body. Police quickly ruled the death a suicide without any forensic investigation, even though Bugliosi believed that evidence strongly suggested a homicide. Later, in her personal correspondence, his widow, Sandra Good, wrote, “I would not want what happened to Joel to happen to me.”

Bugliosi noted that although wanted in connection with the Gary Hinman homicide, Bruce Davis had visited some of his old Scientology haunts in London during the spring of 1969. He revisited them, along with some properties owned by the Process, later that year at the time of Pugh’s demise. Scotland Yard confirmed this with Los Angeles County. At the same time, they also reported his return to England during the months of November and December of 1969, a visit not confirmed by official records, but rather by records at Scientology headquarters.

Its odd that someone could just enter a country without officials having a record of it. Maybe there was a huge breakdown in procedure that would have let him enter and leave a country unnoticed. But for this to have been an accident required three humongous screwups on both sides of the Atlantic. As it stands, Davis didn’t surface in the US until February 1970, at which time authorities arrested him for the Hinman killing.

As mentioned earlier, Bugliosi was stunned to witness the handling of the Watson case. Upon losing one ruling after another, Bugliosi surmised that Judge Adolph Alexander’s handling of the Tex Watson trial demonstrated an unusual, not to mention obvious, bias. When a jury found Watson guilty of first degree murder, Alexander rued from the bench, “If I had tried this case without a jury, I possibly would have arrived at a different verdict.” And Alexander's expressed doubt of the Watson conviction came after the state of California wondered if it would even have an opportunity to try Watson, since Judge David Brown of Texas did everything he could to keep Manson's last lieutenant from facing the California music.

In one case we know that law enforcement officers received orders not to mess with the Manson gang. As former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Preston Guillory informed Paul Krassner (and earlier Brussell):

A few weeks prior to the Spahn Ranch raid, we were told that we weren’t to arrest Manson or any of his followers. We had a sheaf of memos on Manson—that they had automatic weapons at the ranch, that citizens had complained about hearing machine guns at night, that firemen from the local fire station had been accosted by armed members of Manson’s band and told to get out of the area.
Guillory went on to speculate:

My contention is this—the reason Manson was left on the street was because our department thought he was going to launch an attack on the black Panthers. We were getting intelligence briefings that Manson was antiblack and he had supposedly killed a Black Panther. Manson was a very ready tool, apparently, because he did have some racial hatred and he wanted to vent it…Now here’s the kicker. Before the Tate killings he had been arrested at Malibu twice for statutory rape. Never got [imprisoned for parole violation]. Manson liked to ball young girls, so he just did this thing and he was released, and they didn’t put any parole on him. But somebody very high up was controlling everything that was going on and was seeing to it that we didn’t bust Manson.
Then there are other things, such as Manson’s forced early parole. But before pursuing Mae’s thesis further, or any other for that matter, I want to look at what the late-Dr. Melanson would refer to as “time and motion.” In this case, the time and motion of some of the key characters might explain motive better than anything else.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Devil’s in the Slide: She’s Coming Down Fast

Click here for an important update on The Golden Ganesh. Edited for accuracy 19/17/08.


Much of this I would never use at the trial; it was simply too absurd.
--Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter
The officially accepted motive of the Tate-LaBianca slayings seems pretty absurd, all right. Yet prosecutor Bugliosi managed to convince a jury of twelve that Manson attempted to start a cataclysmic race war on the sacred orders of God Almighty, delivered to him through His holy messengers.

Most of us refer to these ‘holy messengers” in more mundane terms: the lads from Liverpool, the Fab Four, or simply, the Beatles. The Beatles also happened to be the title of the holy message, but most of us refer to it as the White Album.

According to information given to Bugliosi by Paul Watkins, ex-slippie Brooks Poston and Greg Jacobson, Charles Manson became deeply engrossed in the White Album immediately after its November 22, 1968 release. Manson slowly began to put together the dots of his grand vision, with one of the inner tracks, “Helter Skelter,” lending its name to the events prophesized by him, the Process Church of the Final Judgment, and the Solar Lodge of the OTO.

Many of those espousing the Helter Skelter motive point out a lot of similarities between the Beatles, the White Album, and the Book of Revelations. As the guru of an apocalyptic, end-time cult, Manson saw the parallels as more than coincidence. He saw it as the affirmation of what he believed to be the most important prophecy of the Bible. “Revolution 9,” an aleatoric piece composed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, brought to Manson’s mind the lynchpin of the Biblical prophecy, the Book of Revelations, chapter nine. Jacobson, Watkins and Poston all said that Manson interpreted that chapter as God’s instructions for both him and the British group. It reads in part:

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss….And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth….

…On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle….

The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind….

The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
There are a number of passages here that came screaming to Manson’s mind, and I should list them here.

(1) The Fifth Angel—Some say this referred to former-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, who died of brain injuries before the group became famous (death would explain how he fell from the sky). Others explain that the Fifth Angel is Manson, cast from the heights of stardom into prison.

(2) The star was given the key….—Assuming Manson is the Fifth Angel, the key would be to the underground hiding place in the desert where Manson hoped he and his followers would safely hide out during Helter Skelter.

(3) The locusts—The biker hordes the Mansonites planned to recruit as shock troops.
(4) Crowns of gold—Could refer to the official sanctioning of the Beatles, most notably by Elizabeth II by her knighting of them.

(5) Like women’s hair—The Beatles were famous for their long hair.

(6) Like Lion’s teeth—The Beatles had good teeth, too.

(7) Breastplates of iron—Everyone interpreted this as electric guitars (although no one seems to notice that the description couldn’t fit Ringo Starr).

(8) The sound of their wings—Rock and roll

(9) The sixth angel—If the Fifth Angel is Sutcliffe, then Manson would most likely be Angel No. 6. It would be his job to unleash the forces built up by the Beatles, indeed by the youth counterculture, for self-destructive purposes.

(10) A third of mankind killed—Manson interpreted this to mean all white people except for him and his minions.

(11) Still did not repent—Those surviving would not repent. They would not have need to. They would say that they were merely fulfilling the prophecy.
While the Bible verse seemed to have contained a number of “clues” regarding how Manson should proceed, the White Album, seemed to contain a lot more, for it sounded like a plan to Manson, and an affirmation of his place within that plan. Listing some of these affinities here.

(1) “Sexy Sadie”—Manson had given the alias Sadie Mae Glutz to Susan Atkins in 1967. This apparently let Manson know that he and his followers read the signals correctly, and were really in dialogue with the Beatles.

(2) “Revolution 9”—The infamous “Turn me on, dead man” song has a passage that sounds like machine gun fire.

(3) “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”—Lennon’s burlesque of Peanuts was serious business to Manson, who kept a stock of firearms. Some also saw this as an exhortation of African-Americans to take up arms against Euro-Americans.

(4) “Piggies”—The ‘pigs,’ in ‘60s parlance, were the establishment, the elite. The bridge contains the lyrics “What they need’s a damn good whacking.” In Mafia slang, a ‘whacking” of any kind means a hit. And many interpreted this as the slippies’ call to arms, their battle cry to ignite the war. Hence, they wrote “Pig” or some variation at the Hinman, Tate and LaBianca crime scenes.

(5) “Rocky Raccoon”—The words ‘raccoon’ and ‘coon’ are derogative terms for African Americans. In the song, the title character gets his girl stolen from him by a dangerous man, who guns him down in the saloon. Manson was convinced that interracial dating and sex were slowing down progress toward Helter Skelter. This could thus be interpreted as a suggestion to disrupt black male/white female relationships that might inhibit the revolutionary fervor of the former.

(6) “Blackbird”—A plea to African Americans to start the race war. The lyrics include the phrase “You were only waiting for this moment to arise.” Police found the word ‘rise,’ written in the victims’ blood, at the LaBianca crime scene.

(7) “Revolution 1”—The lyrics go, “Don’t you know that you can count me out [after a delay], in.” Manson thought this meant that the group was initially reluctant, but now fully committed to the idea of Helter Skelter.

(8) “Helter Skelter”—The chafing, violently dissonant guitar riffs symbolized the race war itself. Manson took the title of this song, and made it the name for this massive conflict, which, as the lyrics said, were “coming down fast.” (i.e., they would happen soon).

(9) “Revolution 9”—Refers to the Biblical Book of Revelations, chapter nine.

(10) “Cry, Baby, Cry”—Contains the lyrics “At twelve o’clock a meeting round the table; For a séance in the dark; With voices out of nowhere; Put on ‘specially by the children for a lark.” Could refer to the alleged occult habits of Tate and Sebring. The point being here was that these rich kids were poking around in the dark occult in order to scare themselves, while the Mansonites had something that would literally scare them to death.

(11) “Honey Pie”—Has the lyrics “My position is tragic; Come and show me the magic; Of your Hollywood song.” Manson et al interpreted this as the Beatles request that they begin to sew the seeds of Revolution from LA through their music, just as the Beatles were doing from Abbey Road.”
Yeah, I know. By now, you’re probably wondering who in their right minds might actually think of interpreting Beatles songs in such weird ways. However, in 1969, during the weeks between the killing and Manson’s arrest at Barker Ranch, the international community discovered that bizarre interpretations of Beatles songs weren’t only possible, but common.

To someone like Mae Brussell, implicating the Beatles would represent a critical part of any plans to discredit the counterculture. True, those who have only trace elements of reason can still figure out that Beatles neither killed anyone, nor asked their fans to kill anyone. Nevertheless, some could make the argument that the Beatles’ cryptic lyrics fostered violence and anti-social behavior. One can even say the band chucked its responsibility as role models. But just the mere association between the Beatles and such carnage might turn people sour on the group just because of associative (or Type S) conditioning.

For Mae, the Tate-LaBianca murders were part of a series of events aimed at reducing the potential effect of the counterculture in society. Couple this with the events of Altamont, the drug-associated deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and other prominent rockers, and the ascendancy of such pseudo-leftist groups as the Symbionese Liberation Army and you have the makings of a sustained attack on dissident culture, one that discourages youth from joining in the rebellion of their older siblings, and encourages them instead to indulge in the more hedonistic aspects of the ethos: namely sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

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  • The Paul-Is-Dead Rumor
  • The Paul-Is-Dead Rumor, Revisited
  • Perverse Science: Biological Determinism
  • Project MK-ULTRA
  • Ruminations on the JFK Assassination
  • Anne Sexton
  • The Summer of 1947
  • The Tate-LaBianca-Hinman-Parent-Hinman-Shea Murders
  • The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA)
  • Urban Legends
  • The VENONA Ciphers and the Rosenbergs
  • Watergate
  • 9/11
  • Assassinations
  • Chappaquiddick
  • Cults
  • Cyberculture
  • Domestic ops
  • Esoterica
  • Espionage
  • Fiction
  • Games
  • The Golden Ganesh (history)
  • Humor
  • Mafia
  • Media
  • Mind control
  • Nanis
  • New World Order
  • Operation CHAOS
  • Paranoia
  • Parapsychology
  • Personal stuff
  • Political theory
  • Pop Culture
  • Psychology
  • Shameless Plug Division
  • Ufology
  • Weird Science

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