Tuesday, April 14, 2015

United States v. Lynette Fromme (Panel Discussion)

This is really good stuff folks. 

It's a panel discussion which includes several key figures from Squeaky's trial. Even Jess Bravin (the author of "Squeaky") is there!

Filmed in 2013, Jess Bravin, the Secret service, the U.S. Attorney, Fromme's defense attorney, and many others, recall their presence and experience during the assassination attempt and subsequent trial of Squeeky...


On a September morning in 1975, as President Gerald R. Ford walked through the lawns of California's State Capitol, a 26-year-old follower of cult leader Charles Manson approached, weaving her way through the crowd, and pointed a loaded pistol directly at the President. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme's purported assassination attempt failed, but the process that led to her conviction and sentence to life in prison has been characterized as the most publicized, if not the most bizarre, trial in the history of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. 

On September 24, 2013, the major participants in the 1975 trial of United States v. Lynette Fromme gathered in the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse in Sacramento, to share their memories of that historic trial. The panelists included Dwayne Keyes and Donald Heller, the United States Attorney and Assistant U. S. Attorney who prosecuted the case; John Virga, Fromme's court-appointed defense counsel; Douglas Duncan, the Secret Service Agent in charge of the Sacramento office at the time; and Jess Bravin, Supreme Court Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, and author of the biography, "Squeaky: the Life and Times of Lynette Alice Fromme." Senior United States District Judge William B. Shubb served as moderator of the discussion.

Co-sponsored by the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California and the Sacramento Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. All rights reserved.

Steve Grogan - (Partial) Parole Hearing

How Grogan looked around the time of his release.

This is only a portion of Steve Grogan's Parole Hearing (after he led law enforcement officers to Shea's remains) - but here it is for discussion:

INMATE GROGAN: First, it was 10 years ago. I’m a completely different person to this point. I was young, 16 years old, you know. I was vulnerable to any hustler that would want to hustle me, really, because of my lack of street experience, my lack of just being out in the world, period. I probably would have gone for anything hook, line, and sinker, any salesman or hustler that wanted to hustle me, because they caught me at that age, that point of vulnerability. I was manipulated very easily. My defenses for what he had for me were, you know, almost nonexistent. It was two years after I was already incarcerated that I realized the games that he had run on me, psychological games. It was over my head, out of my awareness. It was just, you know – and now that I have been around hustlers and all types of people in the criminal line of existence there is no way I could let anybody hustle me into anything, into believing a certain philosophy.

HEARING REPRESENTATIVE VINEYARD: Well, according to the most recent report, staff is still describing you in terms of your passivity and your dependency. Whether or not this is still at that same degree it was 10 years ago can be debated, and probably isn’t, as you say. But whether or not it has reached a place – what could you offer as a demonstration of the fact that you have become your own man in the past 10 years that this kind of influence couldn’t be exerted over you again?

INMATE GROGAN: Well, I think the records state that if I’m so dependent as they suggested, I would most likely be in one of these gangs or cliques and my dependency would be on the group itself. But overt these years I haven’t joined any cliques or have any desire to join any cliques.

MS. SAMUELSON: There is a letter in fact in the file to indicate that there was a reference that he was a member of one of the white groups, and that was corrected to show that there is no such affiliation. That’s also in the file. I’m sorry; I just wanted to bring that up.

INMATE GROGAN: The fact that – I think my record states that I’m more or less a loner. It’s like I don’t hang around with a lot of groups of people. I have managed to complete a trade by myself with no help from nobody. I managed to come to the point from a fair guitar player to take off the state competition in the music field. And that was – nobody helped me do that. That was all my own effort. I managed to put together a nice portfolio of artwork. I managed to become fairly versatile with art at this point.

INMATE GROGAN: Well, it was like a growing hostility. They didn’t like him. Charlie didn’t like him because he was – he was always drinking, and he thought he was a slob. He was, you know – was always talking about messing with the girls that were there. And it was like, you know – it was kind of subtle at first, the way, you know, he voiced his dislike and disapproval of the man. Like he would bring it up in conversation at dinner when we all sat around and ate. Over a period it grew worse until – and then we were raided by the police where everything we had was taken, that we had bought legitimately. All our tools and cars and all the possessions that we had accumulated. And plus the children were taken, too. Everybody was arrested on the ranch.  In fact the only person left was George Spahn, and he was blind. And they had Carl’s brother come in and watch him so he would have someone to take care of him.

PRESIDING MEMBER BROWN: Why were you arrested?

INMATE GROGAN: I was under the – because Mr. Shea had told the police that we had a stolen car ring. Okay? Well, we spent three days in jail, and we were released. And we didn’t get back none of our property. The pink slips were confiscated – along with our property – to four or five dune buggies that we couldn’t get back from them: the children put into foster homes. And what it really did is made everybody really upset at this guy, because I was led to believe that he was doing it to get us evicted off the ranch, to get us thrown off the ranch. And that was the only place we had to stay at the time. And it was through his actions that he caused us this trouble. I think it’s – you know – excuse me. It goes – you know, it goes – it’s kind of hard for me to talk about this because there are a lot of emotions that I have experienced, guilt and stuff, you know, what I did. But there was, you know, a feeling almost of hatred toward the guy because of what he made us go through, the children and stuff. Like we had held the children in really almost the highest position. They were home delivered and breast fed. It was like – our feeling for the children was really the highest thing we felt. This was mostly the whole reason we was all together, to put the children in a good environment, free from social indoctrinations and stuff, try to raise them as natural as we could. And then to have someone come along and form a false story and have them put in foster homes, it was really a blow to the women and men that were at the place at the time.

The incident in Ventura County concerning the indecent exposure, could you explain that to the Board, what that entailed?

INMATE GROGAN: I was coming back from the Spahn Ranch where I was working before and I was going to my parents’ house. This happened on the same block as my parents’ house. I came back and I wanted to get some money because I had a traffic ticket that I had to pay off. My brother was living there and he offered to pay the traffic ticket. So there was nobody home. As I was leaving there was some neighborhood kids that were on the lawn and I was playing with them and the pants I was wearing had the crotch ripped out of them from riding on the horses and things at the ranch. So when I was playing with the kids on the lawn I guess one of the mothers had viewed it from one of the windows and had called the police thinking that I was exposing myself to their children. As a result of that, I was arrested.

MR. FOLEY: In fact, you were referred to a hospital for a period of time?

INMATE GROGAN: Yes. They referred it to, I think, it was Camarillo for 90-day observation.

MR. FOLEY: Also, one other thing crossed my mind. This ranch that you were living on, the Spahn Ranch, were you residing there prior to Charles Manson’s arrival on the ranch?

INMATE GROGAN: I was there when I was about 15 years old and lived in the back. They had a back ranch-house that I lived in and I worked odd jobs, guiding tours for writers and cleaning up the ranch and stuff. They’d give me food and clothing. The rent was free. It wasn’t really nothing to pay for rent. It was just an old shack. It had no electricity or hot water or anything. Just a place to rest.

MR. FOLEY: The next entry on your record is the auto theft, grand theft auto. Could you explain that? That’s in December of 1969.

INMATE GROGAN: I recall being arrested for grand theft auto because I had rented a truck. It was a half-ton truck, I think. I took it to the desert and it got stuck in the desert. At that time I was arrested by Inyo County. I had rented it for one day. So the company called up and thought I had stolen the truck. I went to court and I paid restitution for it, all the damages and the time overdue. I pleaded guilty, I think, to a breach of promise, a misdemeanor. Is that the same one?

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: About this incident helping somebody to go to Hawaii to avoid testifying?

INMATE GROGAN: What happened in that incident, one girl named Barbara Hoyt was scheduled to testify in the Charles Manson trial. She came to the ranch where I was living at the time in Chatsworth, California.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: This is when you were on bail?

INMATE GROGAN: Right. And indicated to the girls and that came to me through hearsay from the girls that she didn’t want to testify that she wanted to, you know, go someplace and hide till the trial was over. So, I guess the girls suggested that they go to Hawaii. They bought her tickets.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: On a stolen credit card or something?

INMATE GROGAN: I don’t know how they got it. I think the friend bought it on a credit card, his personal credit card. I think. I’m not sure.

Anyways, they secured the means of going to Hawaii. And one girl went with her. When she went to Hawaii, the girl gave her some hallucinogenic drugs and some food and left her and flew back to the States. And that scared her and she went to, I think, YMCA or something like that and told authorities and then went back to the police and told them that she thought everyone was trying to kill her or dissuade her from testifying. Consequently, everybody that she came in contact with at the ranch that time she mentioned and was mentioned in the indictment.


INMATE GROGAN: Yeah. And can I add something to that?


INMATE GROGAN: We were planning to take the case to trial because the evidence was really shaky on it. There was no evidence, as far as my participation was concerned, but due to the fact I was already in for murder trial, I thought it be best interest to go in with Ruth Moorehouse. Ruth Moorehouse, she was pregnant at the time.

So we all agreed those were charged with conspiracy plead nolo contendere to a misdemeanor, if they would let her out on her own recognizance to have her child in the streets. Because we didn’t want her to have her child in the county jail and have it taken from her at the early part of delivery. So the District Attorney agreed that would be acceptable to him, and that’s how the disposition was handled.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: And then later on you were convicted of the murder?


PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: Right. I’d like to thank you very much for providing that information. I know it’s pretty well covered in the pages I mentioned, pages 32 to 41 in the hearing of 1979.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: At a certain point after you’ve gotten married, your wife needed to change her unlisted phone number and indication because of threats from Manson family. Would you elaborate upon that, because this was sometime after you were incarcerated? Charlie Manson was incarcerated. Who was the threat coming from? What was it all about?

INMATE GROGAN: Well, after couple years being in prison, after reflecting clear in my head, all the cobwebs, what I call the drug residue, I just started thinking. I came to myself. Man, I started thinking, well, what am I doing with these people? Man, why am I still even letting them write to me?

So cut them loose. In the meantime, I had met, you know, met my wife and we visited over a year. I visited with her for a year because I wanted to see where she was at in her head, as far as for a wife, good wife, my children. It was more like a testing period. I let her go through to see if she would stick by me. Of course, there was no guarantee of that. It seemed that after a year of going through these hardships of prison life, visiting, coming back and seeing you, on the basis that she had left, you know, call it quits or she would stick by me.

So consequently after a year and a half, I decided we should get married. And some of the girls that were involved in Charlie’s in Sacramento got wind of the marriage and they threatened her with telephone calls. Telling her that she wasn’t good enough for me. They were going to kill her; send somebody over to get her, that she should leave me alone; get the hell out of there.

These are not quotes, just summations of the feelings. So I told her to change her address, move out of there. I wondered how they know where she lived.


INMATE GROGAN: I was wondering how they know where she lived.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: At the time you got married, were you prepared as far as the consequences that that might be the reaction from the people that were still out?

INMATE GROGAN: Yeah. It was – I had those reactions to them during that relationship. We had told her, you know, relatively the same thing, leave me alone. You have no business with me, and I kind of half ass respected that from those people. Because in their eyes, here I am in the past involved. I am in effect getting out of the group. To them there’s no getting out. Because it’s – it’s kind of difficult to explain, I guess, the attachment they had to each person that was involved with them over the years and they didn’t want to let go of it.


INMATE GROGAN: It’s like we’re supposed to be bonded together for life, you know, for eternity. Almost to a, like a vow, you know, to that. That was their viewpoint of my involvement with them and I didn’t see it that way. And they was highly upset that I would leave them and just told them to get the heck away.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: I think you indicated that at the time of the killing, correct me if I’m incorrect, that Manson said to mutilate the body and that you surmised that it was a means of bringing the group more under his control, because the group was beginning to shift away from him; is that correct?

INMATE GROGAN: Yeah. At the time – it wasn’t really at the time of the murders. It was after the murder, sometime after. The murder that he told me that, you know, circulate that story if anybody asks.

MR. ROBINSON: Just for clarification, he didn’t tell you to mutilate the body?

INMATE GORGAN: He told me to say that we had mutilated the body.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: Okay. Of the people that were involved in the Manson family, do other people have – at the time that the incident took place, people were very close to one another in terms of the psychodrawn path? At this point is there a spread in terms of individuals?

INMATE GROGAN: Yes. There’s a – there’s a –

BOARD MEMBER TONG: Where people are at in terms of their relationship with Manson or –

INMATE GROGAN: I was the only one that was, you know, saying – taking a good look at where they’re at. It took me a couple years because oriented myself in prison and then still work sifting though the distortion of the thinking I had. But, yeah, I think they were desperate to hold what they had, what little clique of a group they had left.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: Are some of them still pretty close to him in terms to the extent that you can be?

INMATE GROGAN: My contact with them over the years has been nill. I imagine probably couple of the girls are still with them, but that’s about it as far as I’m concerned.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: Okay. I don’t have any other questions.

INMATE GROGAN: Okay, I’ll start with the report that you read is pretty accurate insomuch as it describes everything that happened.

Few inconsistencies in the sense that, if I understood right, you said we enticed the victim to the car. I don’t know if it was understood how I explained it last time that he was taking us down to an auto mechanic place to change some auto parts in. So actually we were like hitching a ride with him.

I don’t know – is enticing the same thing?

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: Well, no, not exactly.

MR. ROBINSON: Well, let me put it to you this way: It begins for you, you’re waking up in the morning, right? If you could start at it from that point and just sort of discuss it. I know you discussed it so many times.

INMATE GROGAN: Well, that morning I was awakened by Charles Manson and still, you know, half asleep, told me to get to the car and handed me like a pipe wrench. Told me to hit Shorty in the back of the head as soon as Tex gave me the go ahead or gave me the signal.

At that point Tex and I entered the back seat behind the driver, which was Jerome Shea, and Tex was on his right hand side. We proceeded down Santa Susana Pass toward San Fernando Valley. And about a quarter mile down from the ranch there was like a turnoff where cars, you know like rest area. And Tex mentioned that he had some parts over there that he had to get, pick up before he went to the store.

I still haven’t got over, you know, the emotional part. You know, so sometimes it’s kind of hard to, you know, overcome the atrocity that I did.

BOARD MEMBER TONG: Would you like some water?

INMATE GROGAN: Yeah, if I could.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: So Charles Manson was in the back seat with you?

INMATE GROGAN: No. No one was in the back seat.


MR. ROBINSON: Tex was sitting in the front seat and you were sitting where?

INMATE GROGAN: I was sitting behind the driver.

MR. ROBINSON: In the back seat.

INMATE GROGAN: Then we pulled off the road. Tex got out. The car was still in gear. I think he just had his foot on the break, and they got out and they looked around the bushes like he was looking for some parts.

In the meantime, I was supposed to hit this guy in the back of the head. And like I never, you know, hit anybody or hurt anybody like that before, and it was hard, you know. I kept hesitating in my mind, you know, looking at the cars on the highway hoping maybe cause of traffic I wouldn’t have to hit him because it was just 10 feet off the lane.

And Tex was urging me, you know, come on hit this guy. I kept hesitating. He pulled out a knife that he had. I guess that’s what finally, you know, put me over the edge. I just hit the guy. I wasn’t really – there was no accurate shot or nothing like that.

MR. ROBINSON: Take your time.

INMATE GROGAN: Well, the blow stunned him but it didn’t knock him out. And he jumped to the passenger side of the seat. That was, the car door was already open and exited through there.

MR. ROBINSON: Steve, let me interrupt you. One of the things that was read in the statement was that the blow knocked him out of the vehicle. I remember that was discussed last year, and as you just said, he left the vehicle after being hit, right? He went out which side?

INMATE GROGAN: Right side.

MR. ROBINSON: The passenger side, all right.

INMATE GROGAN: The blow knocked him forward so he hit the steering wheel and surprised him and jumped out the side and I had to reach over the seat and get in the driver’s seat to stop the car, because the way it was parked there was an embankment, you know, like cul de sac ditch. And the car ran – drove into the ditch. So, meantime I’m jumping over the seat trying to put the brakes on, put the car in gear, stop the motor, he had already been stabbed.


INMATE GROGAN: I imagine Tex did. I didn’t actually see him stab him. My head was turned, you know. The car had left. My peripheral vision, I didn’t catch what was going on. Came out of the car and he was laying on the ground and semi unconscious state. He was already going or something. And at that point Manson arrived on the scene with another person.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: They were in a different car?

INMATE GROGAN: I actually didn’t even see a car drive up. I just noticed to my right he came up. He might have gone through some back trails and in time – he must have been in another car.

HEARING REPRESENTATIVE EPPERLY: Was it Tex who initially said there were some parts over here and caused the vehicle to turn off on the side?

INMATE GROGAN: Right. And I came upon the victim in a semi unconscious state. And I was handed a knife and told to stab him, and I stabbed him twice in the chest. And some others were told the same.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: Did Manson stab him too?

INMATE GROGAN: I don’t know. He might have slashed him. I don’t recall if he stabbed him.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: So you stabbed him and Tex stabbed him. Anybody else stab him?

INMATE GROGAN: I think Bruce might have stabbed him in the arm.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: Then what happened?

INMATE GROGAN: Well, at that point, couple minutes after that he was dead and I was told to take him, drag him into some bushes that were further from the highway, cover him up till night, come back at night and bury him. And the others left so I came back at night and buried him.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: You came back yourself and buried him? How deep was the grave?

INMATE GROGAN: It was pretty shallow. It was just enough to cover his body. But in reference to the deep grave, over the years it was seven years or eight years and there had been rainstorms and mud slides in that area. And I think that’s what – they had trouble finding him when I initially drew a map. I had to go down with them, escort, and show them the direct vicinity. I couldn’t even remember the exact spot because, you know, landscape had changed.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: How about all this talk, it was groovy to kill him, and all that kind of business?

INMATE GROGAN: Well, I was told that if anybody was to ask what happened that those were the statements I was to give them in order to – at that point in time, at the ranch there was a lot of, seems like there was a little bit of dissention and philosophy that was promulgated there. There was always – fear or love would pull people together from breaking apart. And I think it was, you know, meant to understood that this statement would bring more fear to the people rather than just stab the guy the way we did.


This is not the original transcription of Grogan's hearing. This document was sent to me in "word" format... but I have seen and read the original transcription, and I personally attest to it's validity.

Time Frame:
One can safely assume the hearing was held after 1979, as Grogan and the Hearing Representative, both refer to the crimes as being committed "ten years ago". My best guess would be 1980.  

Below is a video shot at the time of Grogan's release 

(Courtesy of Backporch Tapes)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Devil or Brainwashed Angel?

What caused Tex Watson to go from all American boy to knife wielding killer?

He was brought up in a country setting, with parents that tried to guide him.  He got in a little trouble at school, had average grades, made good on the football team, a seemingly idyllic life in a small North Texas town.

So what made Tex into what he became?

He moves to California, the "land of the fruits and nuts" as we used to call it, got a crummy job selling wigs, found out that selling drugs was more lucrative, hitched a ride with Dennis Wilson, met Charles Manson, and hooked up with The Manson Family, which consisted of lots of drugs & sex.

But how does that change him into a bloodthirsty killer?

Some people are "born bad".  Was he one of those?  He wasn't abused as a child, had a nice life, had girlfriends, had friends in school.

When did he go haywire?

Tex claims that after the  TLB murders and Shorty's murder, he got "confused" and went back to Texas.  But if he really had remorse, wouldn't he have told his parents what happened?  His parents, the 2 people on this planet that he could truly trust??

But no, he didn't do that.  He spent some time there, split for Mexico & Hawaii, and finally returned to Texas, still not telling anyone what he did.  It wasn't until California put out a warrant for his arrest that his parents even knew he had anything to do with the murders.

Tex had plenty of opportunity to confess his sins and seek help, but he chose not to.  In his mind, if he kept his mouth shut, no one would ever know he was the one who did it.  He wasn't planning on Susan Atkins blabbing about it.  Too bad for Tex.

Then...instead of owning up to it, he denied it and played crazy.  He thought that would get him out of this "jam".  And Mama Watson was right there, spoon feeding him and believing that it was all nonsense, that her baby boy couldn't have done these crimes.

I think he stayed in Texas because he was protected by his "kin".  He thought they would get him off.

He thought wrong.  Even his kinfolk couldn't get him off this rap.

Eventually he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.  But the California Supreme Court changed that to life with the possibility of parole. 

What really changed Tex into a murder machine?  Tex claims it was Charlie's robot voice commanding him.  Was it?  I would think that "robot voice" would have subsided in time.  But according to Tex, it hadn't subsided even by December of 1969 when he was arrested.

Tex did a lot of things away from Charlie.  He did a lot of things "sans" Charlie.  Was he really under Charlie's control?  He admitted at Cielo Drive that "I am the devil and here to do the devil's business".

Was it the constant drug use and Charlie's mantra that made him act this way?

Tex stopped eating in jail and tried to put up an "insanity defense" which didn't work.

Tex's childhood home is now up for sale.

I wonder if Tex even cares about his country home, about his parents, about his family, about their feelings in all of this, about their disappointment and hurt caused by him.  Does that even matter to him?  I never see him mention it.

It's one thing to have a wayward kid who can't quite keep a job, can't quite make things work, always a dollar short and a day late, those kinds of kids are irritating.

But it's another thing to have a kid that commits the most horrendous murders of our time, for no reason at all.

Does Tex ever think about the backlash for his parents.  How they suffered through this horrible situation?  How they anguished that they gave birth to such a demon-child?  How they sacrificed for him, taught him, took him to church, tried to give him the best life he could have had, only to have a thankless son that left this legacy for their family?

From Cielodrive.com:
Mother Says ‘Tex’ Watson Was Her ‘Pride and Joy’

Wednesday, September 1st, 1971 

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 1 — Charles “Tex” Watson’s mother testified Tuesday that before he joined the cult of Charles Manson he was his family’s pride and joy, an honor student and star athlete who attended church regularly.

Mrs. Elizabeth Watson of Copeville, Tex., tearfully told the jury in her son’s trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders that he returned home from California in 1968 and spoke of an impending revolution and of “a man called Jesus who was named Manson.”

She said she visited him in California earlier in the year and found him to be the “same old Charles” but when he came home in December he was a changed man.

The prosecution contends Watson, 25, was Charles Manson’s chief lieutenant in the series of seven murders that included actress Sharon Tate. Manson and three of his young women followers have already been convicted of the slayings and sentenced to die.

Watson has pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity. The defense contends that repeated use of drugs affected his mind and he was a “robot” obeying Manson’s orders.

After he had joined Manson’s family, she said Watson came home to act as a pallbearer at a friend’s funeral.

“His voice sounded funny,” she recalled with tears in her eyes. “He talked about a man called Jesus who was named Manson and he talked about a revolution and that he was going to a bottomless pit and only the Manson family would be left.

In other developments related to the Manson cult, a newspaper said Tuesday a gun stealing raid on a weapons shop was part of an elaborate plot by the cult to mount a “commando style” attack on the courthouse to free their jailed leader.

The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner said Manson family members planned to free their leader by taking hostages a judge and deputy district attorney at Manson’s current murder trial. They planned then to lead a mass jail break through tunnels from the courthouse basement, the newspaper said.

Both the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office refused to confirm or deny the report.

The newspaper, which said sheriff’s investigators were the source of its information, said it would stand by reporter Cliff Blackburn’s version.

Manson sent secret messages to his followers by writing them in milk on letters sent by other prisoners, the newspaper said. The hidden messages supposedly appeared when the letters were heated by a hot iron after reaching members of the family.

Four men and two women, described by authorities as members of the cult, were arrested Aug. 21 after they allegedly raided a surplus store and held the clerks and customers at gunpoint while loading a panel truck with guns. The attempted theft resulted in a Shootout with police and their subsequent arrests.

Manson currently “is on trial for the slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Why do people join cults?  People turn into mindless robots and obey their master.  It's amazing.

Don't these people ever read the Good Book?  Don't they know this is all bunk??

Some people don't believe in cults.  They don't believe in brainwashing.  They don't believe that people actually join up as mindless robots to serve a certain human master.

I guess they never heard of Jonestown!  Pity....

But, folks, it happens time and time again!

The Manson Family joined a cult, and obeyed their master, to kill, kill, kill.  That master was Charles Manson.

They were taught that killing people "released them" into a higher power, to make them free.  And that was okay for them.  That is, until they got the death penalty.  Then dying didn't sound so good....

But Charlie learned it from L. Ron Hubbard, and passed it on to his cult followers, who willingly killed innocent strangers. 

Here is a bit on another cult.  SCIENTOLOGY.  The biggest joke released on mankind by that insane guy L. Ron Hubbard.   And the sad thing is...they're still believing in this nonsense!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom, I go back to the top of the slide.

It's a topic we’ve discussed 1000 times, and let’s face it, we’ll never reach a consensus.

Some folks believe the entire notion was fabricated by Vincent Bugliosi… and from there, he simply jammed it down everyone’s throat.

Other folks, like my good friend Kimchi, believe it all started with Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston.
As Kimchi said to me via email: “The HS thing appears to have emerged from the drug-fueled over-imagination of Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston“.

Some folks believe Charles Manson actually preached “HS” at the ranch… others don’t.

If it WAS preached at the ranch… did Manson actually believe it? Did the kids actually believe it?

This is a discussion that will never end… unless of course, a different motive is “solved” to everyone’s satisfaction. And trust me folks, that’s not gonna happen.


Manson utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Bugliosi also utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Both men fully understood that "Helter Skelter" was nothing more than a tall tale… but both men cultivated the story, because it was beneficial to them. It’s really that simple.

Below are my thoughts on “Helter Skelter” for what it’s worth. I’ll begin by discussing the significance of “HS” from Charles Manson’s perspective. I’ll then discuss the topic, as it pertains to Vincent Bugliosi. Lastly, I’ll conclude by explaining what this all means to us… the “researcher”.


Charlie: The diary of a two-bit entertainer, manipulator, opportunist, with a bitter streak.

Charlie had to keep the kids entertained. He used several methods to accomplish that goal. He sang, he played guitar, he told stories, he provided drugs, he provided sex… etc. etc.

A stand-up comic hones his act nightly, by utilizing audience feedback. If a joke goes over big (with the audience)… he continues to use that joke. In fact, if possible, he expands upon it. Conversely, if a joke bombs, he shit-cans it.

Charles Manson was an entertainer of sorts. He had to be. There were a boatload of places for a young kid to have fun in the 60’s… especially in California. If Manson was a boring old fart, they would have left.

My point:
I believe Manson had dozens of "raps" (i.e., stories) that he used to entertain the kids.  “HS” was simply one of them. One of dozens, in fact.

But for whatever the reason, the “HS story” caught-on with the kids. And Manson, (like any good entertainer), took note of this, and went with it.  He expanded upon the “act“. And somewhere along the line, Manson realized that he could use this “HS angle” to manipulate.

In a nutshell, that’s my honest opinion of “HS” (in regards to Charlie specifically). I think it probably started as nothing more than a “yarn” Charlie spun around the campfire (to entertain the kids), and it morphed into a convenient manipulation tool.

"HS" wasn't even very original. There were lots of folks talking "revolution" in California at that time.


Bugliosi: The diary of a success-driven man, who had no boundaries, when it came to winning.

If Bugliosi could have proven another motive, he would have.

I’m sure Bugliosi was presented with several possible motives (just as we are). And just like the rest of us, Bugliosi was unable to prove another motive (without having major loopholes to contend with). To quote Dilligaf from 2 years ago: “This case had more loose ends, than tassels on a rug”. 

You can't stand-up to prosecute multiple defendants simultaneously, and say to the jury:
"Truth be told, the motive could be this... this.... or this... and likely, two of those combined.  Heck, I'm not quite sure myself.  I’ll probably never know for sure. Thanks for your time".  That doesn't win a case.

For all its shortcomings, “HS” is a fairly tidy package, which is somewhat easy to present (compared to the other possible motive theories). To prove “drugs” as the motive (for instance), you have to string together several intricate timelines and details. There are loopholes that are hard to fill.

You don’t have to “prove” a whole lot of tiny “details” with “HS“. For the most part, you just have to convince the jury that #1) Manson is completely “bat-shit crazy“, and #2) he was in-charge of the other loonies. (i.e., bat-shit crazy enough to concoct and implement a really bizarre scheme). And let’s face it folks… with several butchered bodies left behind, AND the actions of Manson and his minions (inside the courtroom and out), those concepts weren't difficult to sell.

Bottom Line:
Bugliosi knew these folks were going to act crazy. And moreover, he knew these kids were going to paint Manson as their leader. Clang-Bang goes the iron door.

The "HS package" implicated Manson... the "big tuna". I’m sure that was a big selling point for Bugliosi. Bugliosi wanted Manson, and he wasn't going to present a case that excluded him.

Let me make one thing clear:
Bugliosi knew “HS” was bullshit.

Bugliosi was asked in an interview (right around the time Susan was petitioning for "compassionate release“): "Do you still believe the motive was “Helter Skelter“?

His response: "It seems the motives were several and disparate".

Also, years earlier, Bugliosi said on a talk show (paraphrasing):
“Charles Manson probably didn’t even believe the HS story himself.”

Bottom Line:
Bugliosi chose the one motive (he was presented with), that would implicate Manson AND be successful through the corroboration of the defendants themselves (and the “Family” collectively).

Lacking enough evidence to “sell” a more traditional motive, Bugliosi rolled his dice on “HS”… and thankfully for society, it worked. It worked, because Manson and his minions did all the work for him… as Bugliosi predicted they would.


Here’s a few reasons why I think “HS” was not the true motive:

The Manson men took care of Shorty Shea quite handily... and that had nothing to do with a race war (HS).

Manson and TJ left Bernard Crowe for dead, and that had nothing to do with a race war (HS), either.

The Manson men clearly demonstrated that they were capable of committing crimes (up to, and including murder) for practical reasons (i.e., reasons they perceived as practical). They didn't need "HS" as a motive.

In keeping, I don’t believe the Cielo and Waverly locations were chosen randomly either.

They went to Crowe's place intentionally. They went to Hinman's place intentionally. They killed Shorty Shea intentionally. Heck... you can add the Willetts to the list, if you want. None of those victims were complete random strangers. They knew Crowe... they knew Hinman... and they knew Shorty... and they knew where to find them.

These perpetrators went to locations intentionally... and killed people they knew... for a reason. (Albeit really shitty reasons... but for a “reason” nonetheless.) They weren't random serial killers, with a race war in mind. That wasn’t their MO.

HS was a piece of this puzzle... but, it wasn't the entire enchilada. Tex Watson, Charles Manson (and the "upper management" LOL) had their sights set on Cielo Drive and Waverly for reasons beyond HS.

HS was a manipulation tool Manson used (among many manipulation tools) to execute TLB, but it wasn't the underlying motive.

Here’s something else to chew on:

If Manson was completely sold on an Armageddon race war, why did he stop killing after just 48 hours?

I mean...
If Manson really believed that the end of the world (as we know it) was at hand... and moreover, he was going to emerge victorious... why would he throw-in the towel so quickly???

Ya gotta admit:
For an idea that Manson was supposed to be completely consumed with... he certainly gave-up pretty easily.