There are mis-spelled words, some of which I corrected, some of which I didn't.
Tex Watson Psychiatric Interview, 1971
FROM TEX WATSON’S PSYCHIATRIC REPORT
This is a psychiatric interview with Charles “Tex” Watson from 1971 shortly before he went to trial. This is a part of my large file on Watson and taken from his psychiatric report.
“7/8/71. Second examination of Charles Denton Watson in the psychiatric interview room of the Los Angeles New County Jail: One hour: 1345 to 1445
“I just finished two and a half hours with Doctor Forth this morning. I slept well last night. Breakfast was orange juice.”
Q. “What was for lunch?”
A. “I had a good lunch. Four figs, canned pears, fruit cocktail, apple, soup (maybe tomato), and tomato juice, and a couple of oranges. I was hungry. Oh yes, I had some spinach.
Examiners note: Defendant’s nails are neatly manicured. The nail beds appear slightly cyanosed.
Q. “Is there anything that comes to mind since, and concerning our discussion yesterday?”
A. “Only that you reminded me of a technician at Atascadero who laughed with me one minute but he used Karate on me the next…because I wouldn’t and couldn’t eat the food he wanted me to eat right at that time”
Q. “Well, I don’t know any Karate, and I hope I haven’t acted as if I would use it in your direction anyway. Also, some people call a nudge “Karate”.”
A. “No, you’re fine…but you have a mustache and he did too and your actions remind me.”
Examiner’s note: Some psychiatric testing was again done: The Color Square Test required 45 seconds. Memory items were 8 of 10 rapid recall and 2 were recognized on single stimulus
Q. “How many times have you been in trouble with the law?”
A. “One time before this.”
Examiner’s note: The defendant is quiet, placid, cooperative, oriented in three spheres.
Q. “What kind of trouble?”
A. “It was when I was at college at North Texas State at Denton, Texas…I was about 19.”
Q. “How much did you weigh at that time?”
A. “150 pounds. Another guy and I stole some typewriters from the high school that I went to before I went to Farmersville.”
Q. “How far was that from Denton?”
A. “About 35 miles”
Q. “Why did you go that far to get the typewriters?”
A. “Just for something to do, I guess.”
Q. “How long did you keep them?”
A. “Well, a couple of weeks and then the other guy took them back.”
Q. “Unharmed and unsold?”
A. Yeah. No charges were filed.
Q. Were you in jail there?
A. No, I’ve never been in jail before except overnight in jail in Van Nuys with this Belladonna thing.
Q. When was that?
A. March 1969.
Q. You got over that?
A. Well, I kept eating.
Q. Was that because they kept cooking it?
A. That’s right….and sometimes I ate it raw…probably five to eight times.
Q. Did the others eat it too?
A. I don’t know what the others always did. I suppose they were eating it too. I know we took acid and mescaline and cannabis and what sounded like sillasalmo (Psilocybin?), together and more drugs too.
Q. Did the others have symptoms from the Belladonna?
A. Most of the girls didn’t take it, but Charlie took it a few times. It would just stay in our body…It would last for a week to ten days.
Q. Why did you come to California?
A. I really don’t know why.
Examiner’s note: Dialogue re Motivations and parental attitudes….Texas to California.
Q. Were you just adventurous, or were you dismissed from college, or were you mad at your folks, or were you miffed with your girlfriend, or were you tired of Texas (defendant laughs at this point), or why did you leave?
A. I knew one guy out there, David Neale and I flew out there a few times on airplane passes (I was working for Braniff…and got passes and discount on the fare) so I liked it there and I moved out here in August, 1967.
Q. What did your folks say?
A. I was 21, they didn’t want me to go; mother let me come because I told her I was going to college. I went to California State for a couple of months…until I found that going to college was too much plus my working.
A. I had to work (at the Wig company) to pay for my apartment.
A. They didn’t pay me too much and I couldn’t go back to school.
Q. Did you keep in touch with your folks?
A. Yes, up to the time I started taking drugs and acid at the same time I met Charles Manson.
Q. Where did you met him?
A. I picked up Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys hitch hiking (I was on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades) and he took me to his home and Charlie and some of the girls were there and Dean Morehouse.
Q. About when was that?
A. In March, 1968.
Q. When were you arrested?
A. December 1, 1969.
Q. Had been in trouble out here before that time?
Q. How long a time was it between the time that you had Belladonna root that you told me about and December 1st?
A. The Belladonna roots were in March, 1969, and it was not until December 1 that I was arrested.
7/9/71 15:30 to 16:30
Examiner’s note: Defendant has new denim garb. He looks much better and says “..And I feel much better now. I ate a lot of fruit and I would eat tuna fish, soup, if it’s vegetable. I can’t handle sugar or greasy things…it comes out by me spitting it up. I can eat dried foods a lot….mother used to bring me that in jail in Texas. I can keep down all the vegetable and fruit juices. They moved me out of the hospital facility today after the middle meal and I’m in 2500 now. I had a stomach x-ray this morning, so I had no breakfast.”
Blood pressure 110/80, temperature 98 degrees, pulse 80. Respiration 16.
Q. How many times have you been in trouble?
A. Never, as I told you before, in trouble before this except that one time I had the Belladonna thing.
Q. As you look back and had it to do all over again, would you have left Texas?
A. No I wouldn’t, I’m sorry I ever came to California. I’d like to go home to be with my parents right now.
Q. Just because you’d like to get out of jail here?
A. No, It’s just that I love my parents and I know they are for their boy.
Examiner’s note: That is a fine tribute to them.
Q. If you had it to over again, would you chose to go the same route, once you were in California as you did before?
A. No, I wouldn’t I am truly sorry I met up with Charles Manson and all those people.
A. Because of what happened with the murders and all that. I can’t believe I I’d do something like that. I pray every night for forgiveness.
Q. Do you feel that the material as in the transcripts is in general is a true statement of what happened?
A. I haven’t had any desire to read about it hear it.
Q. Your attorney and the doctors, many have examined you…in the course of those examinations and discussions you have heard a lot about who said what and who did what and when it was done?
A. Well, I am prepared to tell you about it.
Q. What, in general, did you do at the ranch?
A. From September, 1968 to December, 1968…and I left for a month and a half and with David Neal and stayed with a girl for a while…till February,1969. I moved back to the ranch and Manson was pulling on me. I had given my clothes to Charlie and even part of my mind. He was giving us acid and all…we’d get in a circle…living together, he’d play his guitar…five or six guys and up to eighteen girls…but they were always his girls…he took away their old thoughts from them…and we were told we were perfect. He could always see in our mind and he could see it all. He persuaded us of it anyway. You are right.
Q. So how long back before this trouble?
A. February-March, 1969 until August 10, 1969.
Q. Meantime…did you go places?
A. No, Charlie never wanted us to leave the ranch. Then it was drugs, drugs, drugs…bags of acid and speed…we took a lot of speed. Especially me and Sadie. She was a speed freak and we were flying high the night of the Tate murders. It was a private stash and Charlie didn’t know about it. He wouldn’t have liked it.
Q. Where did the money come from for that?
A. The girls would go out and hitch-hike and meet new guys…and bring them to the ranch…and get the drugs…there were a lot of people coming and going from the ranch all the time.
Q. So, were new girls in there sometimes?
A. One girl ended up giving Charlie her Dodge camper and $ 10,000.00…and he took her in and the way he sucked us in. Then the same thing, we’d sit around in a circle and he would pull all the fear out of our head….we’d be totally electronic. He played like there were imaginary people that had thought and fear and he’d tell us that they were already dead…and that the only people there were…were at the ranch. He would play like one of them were sitting in a chair…and cats and dogs in the middle of the circle…he’d pitch them up in the air…at first it would scare them…then later it didn’t bother them at all.
Q. Didn’t any of the cats scratch him?
A. No, everything was always perfect, as perfection is. He’d just pull things out of your body and he’d play his guitar and sing songs…then he’d place his thoughts in us.
Every morning he’d tell us what he wanted us to do that day. The last three weeks he’d give us Bennies (Benzedrine) to keep us awake; and I never did work on things anymore…before the murders happened.
Q. Was he with you both times…that is, at the Tate murders and at the Labianca murders?
A. No, the first time he just told us what to do…and we did it. The second time, he was with us, he went in and tied up the people and came back out and left in the car. When we got back to the ranch, his car was there. For about ten days when I took some Belladonna, I’d black in and out.
Q. Did the rest of them do that?
A. I don’t know. I wasn’t with them until the time I got in the car. When I woke up, my whole body had a reddish tint and felt sucked in. I haven’t been able to eat right since. I’m still dry in the mouth.
Q. When did you go to the jail in Texas?
A. December, 1969 until September, 1970. My parents came to see me every other day. They brought a big grocery sack full of food I could keep down…and wouldn’t have to spit.
Q. What time of night did you get to the Tate house?
A. I don’t know what time except it was just night time.
Q. What time to the Labianca place?
A. Night time too. Charlie drove and drove. My mind was phasing really fast. Me and Sadie had been sneaking some speed for almost a week.
Q. What about your cutting the telephone wires?
A. We got over there. I was laying in her lap. She shook me and told me I was supposed to cut the telephone wires. I remember Linda handed the cutters and I was cutting the first wires on the pole….though I don’t remember climbing down. Next thing I knew we were down at the bottom of the hill…we started two girls and me and another girl in the back…then we walked up to the fence. I crossed the fence, two girls got across…then the other girl came across.
A. All of the sudden, lights started to shine on us…either Katie or Sadie hollered me: “we got to get them all, get him”.
A. I had a gun and a knife in my hand. The car stopped and I just pulled the trigger…about ten days later I couldn’t believe I’d done it…there was no hesitation, she said “get him”, and I got him…no thought…I could just feel my body get sucked in like a monkey. No feeling at all.
A. The next thing I knew, I was walking into the door of the house and there Sadie was. Nothing happened for a little while….then all of a sudden people started coming into the other rooms…to the effect a man was coming after me…I looked…I had the gun in my hand…I shot around or at the person and he fell on the floor…no more shells.
Q. How did you feel then?
A. I had no feeling. Sadie would kick me to get me going. Then I saw Katie stabbing and stabbing this guy and I had a knife in my hand…and I did the same thing…the guy was all messed up (defendant laughing at this point) All of a sudden Sadie hollered again…the second guy was real big and she was stabbing him all over and blood was spurting everywhere and she was hollering for me and I came over and he fell outside of the house…I got over and the body was totally messed up so I decided to hit him again and again in the head until his head cracked open.
A. All of a sudden Katie was outside and had the woman on the lawn…and she was already dead but I stabbed her anyway. The girls told me to and when someone tells me to do something I do it. Charlie told me over and over to make sure everybody was dead.
Q. And you made sure?
A. Right. I did exactly what he said.
7/10/71 9:45 to 11:45 am … fourth visit and examination.
Examiner’s note: Inmate was transferred and remained mute on trip, void on self. Refused to talk to hospital personnel on arrival.
Q. How did you get along last night?
Q. Did you have a good supper?
Q. Why not, Charles?
A. I spit up
A. It was fried chicken and a thick yellow dessert…I gave it to somebody else.
Q. Have you had any breakfast?
Q. Have you had any juices?
A. No, just a roll with sugar on it, eggs and cereal stuff...I don’t know what it was. They have the same stuff that everybody else has….and when I go back into the cell, I go into this feeling of spitting up and coughing and I have chest pain…so I don’t eat it….and my heart starts hurting too. Up in the hospital they’d bring a regular tray and add to it an orange or a tomato or grapefruit juice or vegetable juices. There’s none of that now and no vitamins now either in the cell…but I got those in the hospital plus a shot in the hip. I get real jittery in the cell. Plus a couple of guys bother me…because they think I’m going against Manson and a lot of the people in high power go for what Manson says and it’s hard for me there to keep from being nervous and jittery …and now I don’t get the nutrition I was getting. I would like to stay in as good shape as I can. I’m not going along with Manson.
A. Down in the cell there’s this loud confusion…and these people for Manson are talking about people being snitches and how snitches won’t live long and all this stuff…And I get sort of pulled back into Manson’s world with all this talk. I’m trying to keep my parents world and not somewhere in between them and Manson.
Q. Ok, let’s go to the crime. Did you and the girls get any specific orders from Charles Manson as to what you were to do?
A. I don’t know what he told them. He told me to go with the girls. He told me some things to do. He said, don’t worry, the girls know everything else to do.
Q. As I understand it from the record, Linda Kasabian said that you said that they were going to go to a house that they had been to before, that you knew the layout of the house and “for those of us in the car to do what he told us to do”. How did you feel about that…had you actually been in the house before?
A. I’d been in the house before. I’d been in the front room.
Q. We’ve done some memory tests here. Do you remember what clothes you were wearing? The record has it that you had a change of clothes with you, that there were three knifes and a gun in the car.
A. I was wearing Levi’s. So I didn’t have a change of clothes with me. I guess the girls brought those. They handed them to me and told me to change my clothes.
A. Because mine were all bloody, I guess. There was a gun, and a knife and I had a pistol. I’d never shot a gun at the ranch.
Q. Do you remember how you felt when you told Miss. Kasabian to wrap the knives and the gun in her shirt…and if you stopped to throw them out of the window of the car?
A. No I didn’t tell her that.
Q. The record says that when you got to the Tate house, you parked the car by a telephone pole and then climbed the pole and cut the telephone wires, and after that I guess you drove to the bottom of the hill in front of the Tate house and parked there.
A. I was in the back seat and I got out of the back seat.
Q. Was it then that you and Linda and Sadie and Katie started walking up the hill?
A. Yes, I did. Two girls were in front and one was behind with me.
[ -- SORRY, ONE PAGE IS MISSING -- ]
A. No, I didn’t tell anybody to do anything.
Q. Do you remember driving to a house where you and Sadie and Katir washed the blood off?
Q. Do you remember what you were doing there?
A. We were just playing in the water and having fun…washing our faces because we were drenched in blood…you know, jus playing with the water.
Q. Do you remember whether anything else happened there?
A. A man and a woman came out of this house. We told them we were just getting a drink. I jumped under the wheel of the car and we took off. I wasn’t driving too good….someone said pull over…and they started throwing clothes out of the car. I drove into a gas station to go to the bathroom. I came back out and got in the front seat…the girls drove.
Q. Was it at this point that you told Linda to wipe the prints off the two knifes that you had?
A. No, I never did tell anybody anything.
Q. Do you remember throwing a revolver over a cliff?
A. When I got in the car, the gun was still with Susan but I never saw it after that. Charlie said “the girls know what to do”.
Q. The record says that you told Sadie and Katie to use the restrooms and wash themselves off better than they had done at the house where you were using the hose.
A. No, I didn’t tell them anything.
Q. How did you feel when you told Linda that you had taken $ 70 from someone at the Tate house?
A. I didn’t get any $ 70.
Q. Why would somebody say you did, do you think?
A. I don’t know why.
Q. Do you remember where you got the line, “I am the devil and I’m here to do the devils work” which Linda said you said in the presence of Charles Manson and two girls that you had said to the people in the Tate house?
A. I didn’t say anything like that. I couldn’t speak to good sometimes, other times okay.
Q. Why are you denying everything?
Examiner’s note: At this point the defendant is angry and raises his voice.
A. I’m not denying, I’m telling the truth.
Q. How do you feel about what you did?
A. It was fun tearing up the Tate house, OK.
Q. It was fun?
A. You should have seen it, people were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. (Defendant is laughing)
Q. Do you remember whether you saw Manson that night
A. Yes, but I didn’t talk to him.
Q. Again, as a matter of memory, was the situation pretty tense when, according to the record, you told Mr. Manson that in the Tate house there was a lot of panic and it was real messy, and bodies were lying all over the place, but they were all dead.
A. I didn’t tell him that.
Q. Did the four of you all say “No” when Manson reportedly asked you if you had any remorse?
A. I don’t know if he asked that question or not, I was in a kind of blank state.
Examiners Note: Dialogue regarding the LaBianca murder.
Q. Do you think that when Miss Kasabian said that you were all in the bunk house the night after the Tate murders, Mr. Manson said that you were going out again tonight…that last night was too messy and he was going to show you how to do it…that she was in general correct?
A. Something like that.
Q. As I understand it, she said that you said, “we need better weapons…the weapons we took last night were not effective…they weren’t good enough.”
A. I didn’t say that. We were just kind of following him.
Q. Do you remember it like Miss Kasabian remembered it that, “Manson entered the LaBianca house and returned to the car, he called Leslie, Katie and Tex out of the car.”
Q. Do you remember what he told you?
A. That he had tied up the people inside of the house…a man and a woman…and to go in and do what we did last night.
Q. How were you supposed to get home?
A. The girls said that we were going to hitch-hike back. Charlie had left.
Q. Do you remember whether you and Leslie were told to hitch-hike back to the ranch and that Katie was to go to the waterfall?
A. He would always tell the girls things out of my presence. The waterfall, that’s where I got the Belladonna, I was over there before sunrise.
A. Just messing around. I was always high and I couldn’t sleep. There is no “Why”. I was on speed and I couldn’t sleep.
Q. Do you remember Manson telling you, Katie and Leslie (as the record shows), “Don’t let them know you are going to kill them?” “And don’t cause fear and panic in these people”?
A. When we got into the house the people were all tied up and their heads were covered. No faces or anything showing so they didn’t really look like people to us.
Q. What kind of criticism or praise did Manson give you?
A. I didn’t hardly see Charlie, just a glimpse…until he told me to go out to the desert place.
Q. So where did you go?
A. I don’t remember the town…it was another ranch.
Q. Did you drive?
A. No; there was a big load of stuff on the truck. The owner of the truck was working around the Spahn Ranch and me him and Juan (no girls, they came later)…he drove out and left me and a load of stuff. (The defendant laughs at this point) and says, “the house was about to fall down” “I laid out a sleeping bag”
Q. When did the girls get there?
A. A girl and a guy came two or three days later with a young guy and a girl.
Q. What were you eating?
Q. No Belladonna sandwich? (The defendant laughs good-naturedly at this)
A. I had a dollar, I think, and I went to the store, a short walk through the field.
Examiners Note: Resuming the dialogue in re present status. (7/10/71)
A. Down in the cell there’s this loud confusion…and these people for Manson are talking about people being snitches won’t live long and all this.
Q. Do you know right from wrong?
A. Yes, but sometimes I get mixed up, man. In Texas I was in a cell alone and I got the proper nutrition.
Q. Okay, okay. What is the difference between a lie and a mistake?
A. A lie is if you tell somebody not the truth.
Q. What is a mistake?
A. A mistake just happens.
Q. What is the difference between a midget and a baby?
A. A midget is a little man.
Q. Benjamin Franklin said, “if you make honey of yourself the flies will eat you”. What did he mean by that?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Are your mother and father living?
Q. Do they write you?
A. Yes they do. (His mother has written over 80 letters)
Q. Do you write them?
A. Every day.
Q. What do you feel…who are the victims of this situation you are in.
END OF Q & A
PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION FOR CHARLES DENTON WATSON
Neurological and E.E.G. evaluation by R.D. Walter, M.D. dated April 14, 1971. He found dilated pupils that reacted sluggishly to light, marked showing in the performance of rapid motor tasks, slurred speech, difficulty in recent memory and impaired ability to supply similarities in the abstract fashion, all signs of organic brain disease.
Watson reached total identity confusion in that he and the group were one from Manson’s lectures and the drugs. He was an insecure and dependent individual with a great need to please and be accepted. He was not psychotic before California, but was after the drugs eluted ego strength and self-identity rendering him less in touch with reality, less assertive and functional. Had become a puppet, dependent on, and frightened of Manson. After his arrest he became catatonic like. Currently shows residuals of his psychotic and robot-like state in that he is in limbo between ideologies with Manson and his preexisting ones. Wide spread central nervous system damage probably due to heavy drug use.
Watson is described as the ideal son raised by a domineering mother with an inadequate sense of self-identity – passive, dependant and identified somewhat to a passive, submissive father. He lead a life of letting others decide his role and behavior. In Manson he found a powerful father figure who kept him in a drug induced psychosis – a suggestible state of intoxication where he was desensitized to the act of murder by dissociating feelings from actions. During the murders he was in such a drug-induced psychotic state where he mechanically and without feeling other persons believing them to be imaginary people. Realization of his acts did not come until after he stopped taking drugs and returning to his parents home in Texas. This realization lead to a profound depression, mutism, and regression on return to LA County Jail. After being drug free for over a year he still showed evidence of impaired intellectual functioning, poor coordination and psychotic thinking on tests and examinations. He improved considerably at Atascadero Hospital and should continue to improve with medical care. Watson has a large amount of suppressed hostility and anger and is considered to be a “walking time bomb”. He can be a dangerous individual under certain circumstances and his violence potential is above average