Friday, October 24, 2014

Crime and Punishment Trading Cards

In 1992 Eclipse Enterprises published a few sets of trading cards one of which is titled Crime and Punishment.  There are 110 cards in this series which was drawn by a courtroom sketch artist who worked for ABC television.  The artist, Bill Lignante, previously had been a comic book illustrator and comic strip artist for The Phantom, he also worked as an illustrator for Hanna-Barbera.  The LA Times did a story on Lignante soon after these cards came out.  The person who wrote the text for the cards was Bruce Carroll who also worked for ABC television.

There is always someone who gets their tits in an uproar about these types of things and of course there was a law suit to try to halt the sales of the cards brought on by one New York community in which Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Enterprises Cat Yronwode deftly prevailed. 

Cat Yronwode is no slouch in the business world.  She currently owns a thriving Magick/Occult store in Forestville CA, right next door to the town of Guerneville in Sonoma County.  For a truly Witchy experience visit her website or brick and mortar store Lucky Mojo Curio Co.  Cat puts those Manson girls to shame when it comes to Witchy, but in a good way!

Here are all 26 of the Manson Trial trading cards from the Crime and Punishment series.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Buster Now Has Over 200 Documented Recoveries of Buried Human Remains!

This just came out from Associated Press. Buster now has over 200 documented recoveries of buried human remains. We think that is a record for a cadaver dog.

How can he be wrong at the Barker Ranch?

To see our 2012 demonstration by Sgt. Dostie and Buster at Barker Ranch, click here.


'Cadaver dog' work more accepted by cops, courts
By MARTHA IRVINE Oct. 21, 2014 9:26 AM EDT

In this Sept. 20, 2014, photo, Paul Dotsie holds a rubber bone as he and his dog, Buster, search an area near Bishop, Calif. As a cadaver dog Dostie said that Buster has helped find the remains of about 200 people. As a reward after indicating an “alert,”Dostie tosses Buster the toy. “Good boy,” he says. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

In this undated photo provided by The Scranton Times & Tribune, Army Lt. Robert G. Fenstermacher, of Scranton, Pa., looks out from the cockpit of his fighter plane during World War II. His plane was shot down in 1944, but his body was not recovered until 2012 with the help of volunteers for a nonprofit organization called History Flight Inc. The volunteers who helped find Fenstermacher's body included Paul Dostie, a retired police officer, and his cadaver dog Buster. (AP Photo/The Scranton Times & Tribune)

BENTON, Calif. (AP) — The burly Labrador retriever sticks out his wide snout to sniff the dirt and dusty air. He's clearly excited as he runs, yelping, through the high desert of California's Eastern Sierra region.

"Buster, go find!" Paul Dostie commands.

They are a team, the black Lab and the retired police officer. For years, they have worked together to unlock mysteries — to find the bodies of fighting men who fell long ago on foreign battlefields, or of victims of unsolved crimes or disappearances. In all, Dostie says that Buster's alerts have aided in the recovery of the remains of about 200 people.

"He's a one-in-a-million dog," Dostie says.

Maybe, but he's far from the only dog doing this kind of work. Increasingly, law enforcement investigators across the country are putting their faith in dogs like Buster to help find remains — bodies, bones and blood from the missing and the murdered. Cadaver dogs, as these specially trained canines are sometimes called, were used in searches after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and to help find victims of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.

More recently, these dogs have helped convict some murder suspects, even when no body is found. Trainers and some forensic scientists say the dogs can detect human residue that's been left behind in a trunk, or on a blanket or tarp, or a temporary grave of some sort. In some cases, the dogs also help pinpoint areas where air and soil can be tested with increasingly sophisticated detection devices — though these methods have not been without controversy.

Proving what these dogs know isn't easy.

"If only Buster could talk," Dostie quips, as he works his dog through a wide patch of scraggly brush, about 50 miles east of Yosemite National Park.

Near an old mine shaft, Buster eventually zeroes in on a spot, then stops and barks with more urgency. "Show me, Buster!" Dostie shouts.

In his younger days, Buster would lie down on a spot like this to indicate an "alert." But having lost a leg to cancer, the 12-year-old canine now prefers to poke his nose in the direction of a particular spot in the dirt, or at a rock, or whatever has set off his nose.

As a reward, Dostie tosses Buster a blue rubber toy he's been holding behind his back while the dog searches. "Good boy," he says.

To the untrained eye, it might seem that Buster is simply barking for that toy.

But this routine has helped unearth the remains of everyone from crime victims to missing Americans lost in World War II battles in Europe and on the south Pacific island of Tarawa. Dostie and Buster travel to former war zones with History Flight Inc., a nonprofit foundation whose mission includes finding the tens of thousands of fallen American veterans whose bodies were never recovered.

Among others, Buster helped find Lt. Robert Fenstermacher, an Army Air Corps pilot whose plane crashed in Belgium after being shot down in 1944. Last year, his family gathered as he was laid to rest, nearly 70 years later, in Arlington National Cemetery.

"(Now) we can finally say to Robert: 'Welcome home. You served your country and family with honor and made us proud,'" the pilot's great-nephew, Robert Fenstermacher Jr., said at the funeral, as he thanked Buster, Dostie and other search volunteers.

History Flight volunteers also use ground-penetrating radar, historical records and witness accounts to pinpoint remains. The method has led to the recovery of 13,000 bones on Tarawa alone, most of them not yet identified, says Mark Noah, founder of History Flight.

Other searches are often much simpler — just the handlers and dogs, walking on foot, mile after mile to find a body. That was how Deborah Palman, now a retired specialist with the Maine Warden Service, and her German shepherd, Alex, found the body of a Canadian woman named Maria Tanasichuk in 2003. Police later determined she'd been shot in the head execution-style by her husband David Tanasichuk.

"We had worked so long for so many days — a lot of long, hard searches," Palman says. "You've sort of thrown yourself into numbness, and you convince yourself you're not going to find what you're looking for."

Then, during another long day trekking through a forest outside Miramichi, New Brunswick, Palman recalls how Alex ran to her as if to say, "Hey, come look at this. Follow me!"

Palman pulled back some brush and saw green fabric, and signs that a body was underneath.

"My pulse must have shot up over 200," she says.

That find was the break in the case that led to David Tanasichuk's conviction.

Local police departments have been reluctant to use the cadaver dogs for searches because their trainers are volunteers, but that's been changing, as the dogs' training has become more standardized in the last decade — and as they've helped solve more cases.

Labs and German shepherds are the most common breeds used for cadaver work. Like most of the dogs, Buster started young, though Dostie concedes that he ignored the pudgy puppy when his wife brought him home 12 years ago. She'd begged her husband to let her keep Buster — and then Dostie started noticing what a good nose the dog had.

The dogs are often trained at cemeteries and at specialized "body farms" that have decomposing bodies at various stages.

While humans, when alive, have individual scents, chemical reactions from decomposition are basically the same in every human, though those reactions — and the scent — change over time, forensic experts say.

When more than one dog has alerted independently in the same spot, some judges have been persuaded to allow cadaver dog evidence and testimony from the dogs' handlers, even if investigators haven't found the body.

In February, for instance, cadaver dog evidence helped convict a suburban Chicago man, Aurelio Montano, of killing his wife. She disappeared in 1990, and although her body was never found, investigators got a tip, years later, and dug up a rug at a horse farm on which more than one cadaver dog alerted. They contended that Montano had wrapped the body in the rug — also identified by his daughter as having once been in their home — and buried it. Those same investigators said Montano later exhumed his wife's remains and disposed of them in an unknown location.

The dogs' alerts on the rug, coupled with witness testimony, proved to be enough to convict Montano.

That sort of testimony has been less than effective in other cases, though.

In the high-profile 2011 Florida trial of Casey Anthony — accused of killing her young daughter — more than one cadaver dog alerted on the trunk of Anthony's car. Arpad Vass, then a senior research scientist with the Oak Ridge National Lab, testified that using air samples from the trunk, he had found high levels of chloroform, which can be found when a body breaks down. However, that finding was questioned by other witnesses and pundits, who said the science wasn't ready for primetime. And unlike Montano, Anthony was freed.

Cadaver dogs "are an incredible investigatory tool — no question about it," says Lawrence Kobilinsky, professor and chairman of the department of sciences at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Certainly, he says, they can help uncover valuable evidence in criminal cases — a body, or bones or maybe clothing.

But he is among those who doesn't think the dogs' alerts and subsequent tests of soil and air where should be admissible in court, at least not yet.

"What we need to do is strengthen the science," Kobilinksy says.

And even in investigations, dogs alerting is often just the first step in what can be a lengthy, sometimes fruitless endeavor.

"Everybody thinks, you just dig a hole, but it's not always that obvious," says Vass, who is continuing to develop technology to help locate clandestine graves and to evaluate chemical markers associated with human decomposition. Often, he says, buried bodies create a "chemical plume" that runs downhill from a grave, making it difficult to find.

"Dogs," Vass says, "are just one tool in the toolbox."

Cost also can be a factor.

In Plumas County, California, Buster and two other dogs have alerted on an outdoor well on separate occasions. The well is near the home where 13-year-old Mark Wilson was living when he disappeared in 1967. Wilson was never found.

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood can't be sure the boy's body is in that well. But he thinks it's worth investigating, so much so that he asked for assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has offered a forensics team.

The sheriff's department, however, still must foot the estimated $96,474 bill to excavate and restore the site, which is in the front yard of a home. That's no small amount of money in a county, once a busy logging and lumber hub, that's been hit by economic hard times.

With the funding turned down by the county board, the sheriff says he'll seek help from foundations or other sources.

"How can I justify not pursuing this?" he asks. "Well, you can't."

Buster, meanwhile, is still at work and may make another long trip to Tarawa. Noah, of History Flight, paid for the dog's cancer surgery, out of gratitude and to keep Buster's nose in the field.

"As long as he wants to work, he gets to work," Dostie says. "It's up to him."

USA Today Video:

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Hare Krishna Who Set Manson Ablaze

Demons Within, Danger at Large / Everyone who ever knew Jan Holmstrom knew it was only a matter of time before the paranoid schizophrenic who'd murdered his own father attacked someone else. And last November, at a Hare Krishna temple in San Francisco

Ho Thaai Walker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Published 4:00 am, Sunday, February 19, 1995

With four shotgun blasts, Jan Holmstrom ended his father's life in the driveway of his family's fashionable Pasadena home, and then handed the gun to a stunned 9-year-old Cub Scout as he walked away.

While doing time for the murder, Holmstrom sent threatening letters to his family from prison and set a fellow inmate, cult leader Charles Manson, on fire.

Now, he sits in the San Francisco County Jail awaiting trial on charges that he tried to stab a Hare Krishna member to death last November inside a temple on a quiet Cole Valley street -- a crime that resembles one he was arrested for more than two decades ago in another temple, in another town.

Those who know Holmstrom hope that this latest act of violence will be the one that keeps him behind bars for good and lets them live their lives in peace, without worry, without the fear they have lived with for years that he will come after them.

"It's a relief that he was arrested again in the respect that he's not going to be able to hurt anyone else," said a family member who asked not to be identified because she fears for her life. "He's touched so many lives and hurt so many. He should never be set free."

To his family, Holmstrom, 46, is a "a sleeping giant in a time bomb" -- a man plagued by violent mood swings and delusions they say have resulted from a history of drug abuse and paranoid schizophrenia.

When he murdered his father, a prominent Pasadena gynecologist, in 1974, the family that adopted Holmstrom when he was 9 days old disowned him and have not spoken to him since. Their fear that he would be released from prison and come after them was channeled into scores of letters to state officials, begging them to pull the strings that would keep Holmstrom behind bars forever.

"(Holmstrom) is a classic example of a person who should not be let loose," said retired Pasadena police investigator Ron Davis, who arrested Holmstrom after his father's murder. "He should not be out on the streets."

Yet while that seemed more than obvious to Holmstrom's family and the police who came in contact with him, Holmstrom was released from jail and paroled to San Francisco in 1990. Ever since, Holmstrom's family has lived in hiding from him.

"It's very hard," said the family member. "All of the members of the family are scared to death of him."

It was 6:10 p.m. last November 26 when police received a frantic call from the Hare Krishna temple at 84 Carl Street. The woman on the telephone told the dispatcher that someone in the temple had just stabbed another person.

"He's here, we've got him down, hurry!" the woman yelled. The woman told the 911 dispatcher that the suspect was an ex-con who had recently been paroled and had been coming to the temple. She dropped the phone after saying she had to find someone to help the Krishna members who were holding the suspect.

The Krishnas who have made the house on Carl Street their sanctuary and home live simply and quietly, The temple often goes unnoticed by passers-by. An unassuming, gray, two-story house with a red tile roof, it is nestled between a bustling cafe that specializes in crepes and a tiny triangular park that serves as a hangout for transients.

Inside the Carl Street temple, the members practice their religion, a Hindu movement based on ecstatic devotion to Lord Krishna, the second god of the Hindu trinity. Founded in the United States in 1966, the Krishnas have lost the controversial edge that once defined them and have become less conspicuous.

Carl Street sits in Cole Valley, a burgeoning yuppie neighborhood that borders the Haight district. The quiet of Carl Street is interrupted by the loud hum of the N-Judah trolley that rolls in front of the temple every 15 minutes to spill out commuters.

Krishna Kumar Das, the 27-year-old president of the Carl Street Hare Krishna temple, has probably known Holmstrom longer than any other member there.

The two met in 1990, soon after Holmstrom was paroled, at a temple in Berkeley where Kumar Das was working as head cook. When Kumar Das left the Berkeley temple to manage the Carl Street temple, Holmstrom followed.

At the temple one afternoon last month, in a sunlit second-floor office, Kumar Das, a bespectacled man with a soft voice and a quiet nature, recalled that Holmstrom was up-front about his past with Krishna members from the moment he started visiting the temple.

Holmstrom, who has followed the Hare Krishna way of life since 1971, told them right away that he had just gotten out of prison for killing his father. He said he realized the killing was wrong, Kumar Das said.

Kumar Das was skeptical about letting Holmstrom into the temple because of his violent past. But Holmstrom was accepted because members thought that "it wouldn't be fair to exclude him," Kumar Das said.

Although Holmstrom usually visited the temple every day, at times he would stay away for weeks. Holmstrom told the members very little about what he did outside the temple. All they knew was that he did not have a job.

To his Krishna family, Holmstrom was known by his religious name, Ujal Das. And as a member, he was always very respectful, polite and devoted to the philosophy and culture of the Hare Krishna life.

But there were oddities, instances when he seemed almost "mechanical in the way he spoke to people," Kumar Das said. "He was not very at ease."

"He never did anything frightening, though," Kumar Das added.

Then the usually docile Holmstrom changed.

Holmstrom became preoccupied with a temple member and started giving her "strange letters" -- part love letters, part ramblings, Kumar Das said. In one letter, Holmstrom described the woman as a "princess hidden in a guru's tomb."

At 3:30 one morning, a week before the stabbing, Kumar Das, who lives at the temple with three other members, said he awoke to the sound of a blasting radio. He found Holmstrom sitting in front of the cafe next door with a radio turned on full volume.

Kumar Das asked Holmstrom to turn the radio off. Holmstrom ignored him.

"It was that (incident) that I realized something was wrong. (Holmstrom) was usually so obedient."

Afterward, Kumar Das asked the other temple members if they felt comfortable with Holmstrom visiting the temple. The consensus was that they did not.

The day before the stabbing, Holmstrom went to the temple, seeking refuge because he had been kicked out of his Lake Street apartment, Kumar Das said. But temple members told him he was not welcome.

The next day, November 26, Holmstrom returned to Carl Street, police say. He went to the cafe and pretended to be the Greek housepainter who was painting the outside of the temple at the time. He faked an accent and asked an employee at the cafe if he could use their back door to gain entrance to the temple because he had locked himself out, police say.

The employee let Holmstrom through the door, and Holmstrom entered the temple's side door, police say. He greeted several temple members who were sitting in the kitchen, picked up a knife and made his way up the temple's stairs to the second floor. There he found Krishna member Andrew Vongottfried, according to police.

Vongottfried had just finished shaving and was about to take a shower when he encountered Holmstrom. When Holmstrom attacked him with the knife, Vongottfried thought, "Oh, my God, it's time to die," he later told Kumar Das.

He tried to fight Holmstrom off. Vongottfried's screams brought fellow Krishna member Urddva Raita Das to his aid. Raita Das, a Vietnam veteran, pulled Holmstrom off Vongottfried and held him until other Krishna members could help. Then he placed plastic bags over Vongottfried's wounds to seal them until paramedics arrived.

Vongottfried had been stabbed seven times. Hospital officials told San Francisco Police Inspector Jeffrey Levin that Vongottfried would have died had he arrived at the hospital five minutes later.

Levin said Holmstrom appeared "lucid and calm" when police interviewed him at Park Station after the stabbing.

"He denied involvement (in the stabbing)," Levin said. "He said he didn't do it, that he came to the temple, entered through the front door, went to use the bathroom and found the guy bleeding."

Levin said police believe Holmstrom was stalking the temple member he had been sending letters to and that he had planned to kill everyone in the temple that day so he could get to her.

Holmstrom was charged with one count of first-degree burglary with the intent to commit felonious assault, one count of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

Since he's been in police custody he has been involved in three fights with other inmates, authorities say.

Kumar Das said Holmstrom's attack has left him angry. And he is worried about the Krishna members' safety should Holmstrom be released.

"I'm quite angry that he did this," Kumar Das said. "I hope the best for him but I think the best is for him to be locked up. I wish he could live a good life, but he's not able to be an ordinary person. Repeatedly he has hurt innocent people."

The demons that came to possess Holmstrom did not surface until he was in his late teens, his family members say. Up until then, he was a model child -- bright, funny and popular.

Born prematurely, Holmstrom weighed barely five pounds at birth. He was adopted by Emil Holmstrom, a gynecologist and histopathology specialist at Kaiser Permanente Hospital, and his wife, Peggy.

"He was just a wonderful kid, everybody loved him," said the family member.

He loved to just "sit and chat," she said, and he had an avid curiosity that moved him to pore through his father's medical books.

But at about age 16, Holmstrom lost interest in school. He began smoking marijuana. Later he started taking LSD.

In his late teens he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia -- a mental disorder accompanied by a distortion of reality and a fragmentation of one's personality. His family was told that he needed medication to curb his mood swings.

"We did everything we could for seven years. There were lots of psychiatrists and hospitals," the family member said.

Beginning in 1967, at age 19, Holmstrom was in and out of jail on charges ranging from marijuana possession to disturbing the peace -- in one case helping himself to gasoline at a service station to douse his jacket before trying to set it on fire.

His behavior became more bizarre as time went on, his family said. He dropped out of his circle of friends, hallucinated a great deal, became unkempt and seemed detached and uncaring. He had a fascination with fire and an obsessive fear of swastikas and crosses.

One night his family came home and found that he had placed lit candles throughout the house, some of them on the carpet. Another time, he tried to set fire to their church.

They grew to fear him. They decided he could no longer stay at home. "We were so frightened of him we had changed all of the locks on the house," the family member said.

Holmstrom went to live at a nearby halfway house. He was only allowed near his family's house to walk up his parents' driveway to the mailbox to retrieve a monthly check for rent and food.

In 1971, after Southern California was rocked by a severe earthquake, Holmstrom had a "vision" that told him to join the Hare Krishnas. He joined a Los Angeles temple, seemed to fit in and at one point even went to Mexico City to establish a temple there. But for reasons unclear, Holmstrom began to lose favor with Los Angeles temple members, and there were times when they refused to allow him into the temple, a family member said.

During an October 1973 incident that mirrors the one in San Francisco last year, Holmstrom allegedly stabbed another Krishna member in a temple kitchen in Venice, Calif. He was arrested for the knifing but was later acquitted of the charges. He was banished from the temple.

Three months later, he killed his father, nearly decapitating him with a 12-gauge shotgun as the elder Holmstrom returned home from work.

Pasadena police investigator Ron Davis, now retired, arrested Holmstrom just a few blocks from his parents' home minutes after the shooting.

"He was very quiet," Davis said, recalling Holmstrom's arrest. "He didn't seem aggressive, didn't seem the violent type. But he is violent; he just doesn't seem that way by first impression."

The gun Holmstrom used was turned over to police by a Cub Scout who told police he had been sitting in a car with friends about a block away from the scene of the shooting when Holmstrom walked by and handed him the weapon.

Family members believe a dispute over money between Holmstrom and his parents the previous week may have precipitated the murder. They also believe that Holmstrom was trying to lure his mother out of the house that day to kill her, too. During the trial, his mother testified that right before the shooting her doorbell had been rung frantically several times but that she had found no one there when she answered it.

Sketches police found in Holmstrom's room at a halfway house after the killing depicted two bodies lying in a driveway.

In December 1974, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Behind bars, he remarked to a prison guard that killing people was "just like stepping on spiders."

In 1984, at the state's prison facility for psychiatric prisoners, Holmstrom's path crossed that of mass murderer Charles Manson.

Manson was 13 years into his life sentence for the 1969 killing spree that left actress Sharon Tate and seven others dead. Holmstrom, who by this time had been classified as a mentally disordered offender, had already been in trouble for assaulting a guard.

The two men were in the hobby shop of the California Medical Facility at Vacaville when Holmstrom doused Manson with paint thinner and set him on fire with matches. The flames were put out but Manson, then 48, was left with second- and third-degree burns over his face, hands and scalp.

Holmstrom later told prison officials that Manson had chided him for chanting Hare Krishna chants and that God had told him to kill Manson.

Holmstrom's lockup did not keep his family from being intimidated by him. They received notes in the mail with crude drawings of each family member.

One sketch, apparently of his mother, shows a woman in a housedress with a large cross on her chest. The drawing includes scrawlings that read: "Peg: socialist, killer of babies, fanatic, drunkard, whore, wicked witch, evil, Miss goody two shoes. . . . Her days are coming to an end quickly. The white witch is going to be burned to ashes."

Another, a depiction of Holmstrom's deceased father, shows a man wearing swastikas and holding a hypodermic needle in one hand. "Dr. Emil Gustav Holmstrom," it reads. "Gloomy Gus, Killer of babies, Herr doctor . . . whiteGod . . . He died on Jan 22 1974 No one can escape the wrath of God."

Holmstrom was eligible for parole in 1982 but the attack on Manson and other inmates and guards kept him in prison for seven more years.

That was when Holmstrom's family was told that regardless of their many letters to prison officials and the state attorney general, Holmstrom would be released from prison to the Los Angeles area.

"I just had a fit when they told me he was going to be sent to Los Angeles," a relative said. "I just thought that was absolutely ridiculous. I was frantic."

Family members were able to convince state officials that Holmstrom would be a severe threat to the family and the community if he were paroled in the Los Angeles area. State law permits victims of violent crimes to request that a parolee be paroled at least 35 miles away from their victims.

So Holmstrom was sent insteadto San Francisco, where he was under the dual supervision of the Department of Corrections and the Department of Mental Health for three years, said Miriam Joselyn, a parole agent with the Department of Corrections.

"I remember Holmstrom because we were watching him for any sign that he would pose a threat to the public," Joselyn said. "We supervised him very closely and we kept (an eye on him) for the maximum length of time possible."

But when he was done with his parole, no one paid attention to him. The "sleeping giant in a time bomb" began to wake, Inspector Levin said.

"He went for a long period of time after being paroled from prison without committing any violent acts," Levin said.

Joselyn, whose office has not had contact with Holmstrom for the past two years, said it wasn't hard to remember who he was when she learned of the November stabbing at the Hare Krishna temple.

"There are those cases and that was a name -- that as soon as it popped out in the news an alarm went off. There are some names you don't forget," she said.

Holmstrom's November arrest also grabbed the attention of family members. A cousin saw the story in a local newspaper and called other family members, who all voiced the same view: "We're all safer than we were yesterday because he was in jail," a family member said.

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney George Beckwith said it is too early to know what will happen with the Holmstrom case, which is set to go to a preliminary trial on Wednesday. But he said that Holmstrom could face 25 years to life and that his brushes with the law may make him an eligible "three strikes" candidate -- increasing the time he would have to spend in jail. to what? do we know?

Sheila O'Gara, the deputy defense attorney assigned to Holmstrom's case, said she could not comment on the case.

For Holmstrom's family, the anguish and heartache that began two decades ago is renewed each time they hear of some new crime he allegedly committed -- someone else who has been hurt. Betrayed by their own trust in the criminal justice system that they believed would never allow Holmstrom out of jail, they say they can only hope their fears can finally be put to rest.

"I was assured they would never, never let him out, but this is where the justice system is," a family member said. "I worry about myself, but I've lived a wonderful life and I'm very happy to be alive. I worry about society. Jan has nowhere to go. He has no future. His mind has been destroyed."


-- Born in 1949

-- Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in his late teens

-- Joined Hare Krishna in Los Angeles in 1971

-- Arrested in 1973 knife attack on Hare Krishna temple member in Venice, Calif. He was later acquitted.

-- Convicted of his father's murder in 1974. Sentenced to 10 years in prison.

-- In 1984, doused fellow prisoner Charles Manson with paint thinner and set him on fire. Manson suffered second- and third-degree burns.

-- Released from prison in 1990. Paroled to San Francisco.

-- Charged in November 26, 1994, stabbing attack at San Francisco Hare Krishna temple.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Early Manson Recording

Nope no video, just audio.  This is quite good and it's really too bad he couldn't have stayed in this frame of mind instead of getting all witchy on everyone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Day In The Life Of Tex........

Ol' Tex discussing blaming his actions on Manson in this old interview that is posted on his ridiculous website,

Here's the link

Gag me with a spoon! I am assuming this interview was conducted in 2003, since he was 58 at the time. There isn't anything revealing, or remarkable in it, if you ask me. Funny how he doesn't mention a damn thing about his participation in Shorty's murder. He specifically mentions just feeling bad about the 7 murders he participated in, and how God has forgiven him. His website also reports on his prison activities such as ministering fellow inmates on the yard, running his church, writing newsletters, and even drawing incredible, life-like furry & fuzzy pussies. I wonder if he does that by memory, since, technically, he did see a lot of that same subject matter out at Spahn's ranch, right?

See what I mean:

Tex's website also includes a movie review from the last piece-of-caca Helter Skelter movie they made starring Jeremy Davies. He even had a rating system attached to the review at the bottom. How does he find the time?

Tex's Helter Skelter movie (2004) review:

I question the need for another "Helter Skelter" movie. These crimes, which I deeply regret, were atrocious. It was a tragedy not only for the victims, but for their families, to whom I eternally and humbly apologize. I owe a debt to society that I can never repay, but I can pass along insights for constructive purposes with what's left of my life. I am saddened to see the hunger our society has for this phenomena. One day, I believe this evil will be overcome by good.

This new version, by writer-director John Gray, will be responsible for awakening and shaping the minds and beliefs of a new generation concerning the Manson family. The true sense of what Manson personified could only be known by his former followers, who know how they were manipulated. I feel after the movie, viewers were still asking themselves how and why? It seems Gray had his own agenda in mind, focusing more on externals, instead of helping his audience to understand the internal transformation that took place in the hearts of Manson's followers to carry out such savage acts.

This movie distorted the characterization of Manson and his former followers, but in all fairness, we were told it was dramatized and fictionalized at the start. CBS's executive producer Mark Wolper told TV Guide, "We want to create a film that was really, really scary to overcome the retro-cult fascinated with Manson." In my view, greater emphasis should have been given to the deceptive philosophy of Manson rather than emphasizing "scariness." If the purpose was to empower people to not be enticed by cults; I question the ability to scare people straight. Instead viewers left the movie fearful, with Manson's face embedded in their minds. To protect impressionable minds and overcome cult fascination, sound belief systems must be developed based on a loving God who satisfies a longing soul. To the contrary, this movie has now enflamed the world with fear and hatred, from this presentation of the Manson Family's demonic wave of horror.

The mistake is often made to show Manson as a hyper, long haired, arm waving, wild man. This was his court persona and how we see him acting out in interviews after the crime. Because the movie started one month before the crimes, in July, 1969, the timeline did not allow the viewers to see the progressive change in Manson for the previous year, after his release from prison. At that time, he was calm, young looking, personally charismatic, with short hair (at first). He gradually changed to a madman, able to deceive his followers. This gradual change, we all experienced was sadly missing; so the viewers were left asking themselves how these kids could be turned into killers. At one point in this movie, even Vincent Bugliosi questioned this.

This movie depicts Manson as a drug-crazed, want-to-be rock star, who sends his groupies out to kill in anger and revenge to start "Helter Skelter". If he appeared like that to us from the start, we would never have followed him. Those willing to die for Manson, were not willing to die for the madman portrayed in the movie, but for a man whose philosophy deceived us. I was in turmoil when I realized his philosophical doctrines were all lies, designed to enslave us to his plan.

We see exactly the same thing when we see terrorists lay down their lives for a cause of their leader. The suicide bombers have come to believe the philosophy they have been taught by their charismatic leaders. The world sees their leaders as crazy lunatics and can't understand why anyone would follow them, especially parents who offer their children to the cause.

The Manson family was made up of young adults who were depressed, with spiritual and psychological problems, often coming from dysfunctional families. We were often hungry, eating from garbage cans, a dirty bunch, bathing in creeks or taking cold showers at best. We were a small, lost, demonized cult of 16 hard-core followers and several drifters, who lacked identity and acceptance. We were looking for answers from Manson. After it was too late, we found he had no answers, only a mixture of philosophies he manipulated to make us believe we were much more than we were.

The role of drugs and music were under emphasized, relative to Manson's ability to capture our beliefs and deceive us. The drugs caused us to become gullible with an openness to accept his ideas. His music helped to hypnotize us, making us willing to do anything he requested for the cause of "Helter Skelter". Charlie sung the family into a trance while on drugs, but the actor in the movie, Jeremy Davies, hardly ever sang. I was surprised that the movie depicted me as sniffing methamphethetamine in the car before the final crime. Actually, I did this before leaving the ranch. The actor portraying me did not look as young as I did and walked with more maturity and authority. I was aloof, a heavy thinker, mesmerized by the philosophy of Manson's mission and drug crazed as seen from my jail photo while on the hallucinogenic plant belladona.

Jeremy Davies' did a superb job imitating Manson in the scene on the beach, wildly explaining the "Helter Skelter" philosophy. More scenes of this nature may have helped the viewer to understand Manson's twisted logic. But in reality, does any of it make sense? Even Manson himself would have us believe that, "No sense, makes sense!"

Manson's deceptive "Helter Skelter" philosophy depicted his true motive for the crime, not his anger towards Terry Melcher, Doris Day's son, who would not give Charlie a recording contract. In the "Helter Skelter " chapter of my book, Will You Die For Me?, I share other motives, those being: a copycat murder to free Bobby Beausoleil from jail, a connection the prosecution failed to acknowledge at first; and to obtain money to finance "Helter Skelter" and to pay Mary Brunner's bail. These were the motives. Manson became impatient to prove his "Helter Skelter" philosophy, so he saw his opportunity to start it by choosing Melcher's residence, although he knew he no longer lived there. I was surprised the script showed Manson going to the residence the night before the murders and being offended, because I was not aware of that until years later.

I felt Vincent Bugliosi's book, "Helter Skelter", written in 1974, was about 85% accurate in its portrayal of what it covered. It's much more difficult to portray character traits. The movie did tell the story, but roles were overplayed, especially Susan Atkins, and there were factual errors. For instance: ID's were not all put in one box. Dogs did not eat before the family did. No spotlights were at the ranch. The $5000 was given to me by Linda, and I gave it to Manson. Many times I wish I had left and gone back to Texas with that money. I'm certain many others do too. There were no girls kissing one another, and there were no orgies as depicted. The girls wore no make up and were not Hollywood dolls. Dennis' beach house was not on the beach. Spahn's ranch had no lake. I don't remember Manson ever physically abusing the girls. As far as the crime is concerned, Manson gave me the specific orders on a long walk that night. The phone wire was cut away from the house on the left side of the road. The car was parked far down the hill. It was extremely difficult to carry out Manson's orders. No one enjoyed what they were doing, like the girls were portrayed as doing. After the crime, we reported to Manson in the bunk house, very low-key with him not happy, and there was no celebration by the family in front of a television.

My book Will You Die For Me? shares a view from someone who was there. It describes these crimes chronologically from audio recordings made just four months after the murders occurred. It appears some of the research for the movie must have come from my writings. I can speak of the crimes today, because they are behind me. I face my past truthfully, with a healthy identity. But still, the enactment left me drained, butterflies and knots in my stomach and deeply saddened by the pain I have caused, even though that person who killed so freely is not alive any longer. He died spiritually and is now forgiven, and made new by the righteous sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I've also tried to present additional insights in my new book Manson's Right-Hand Man Speaks Out! This book consists of my answers to over 200 interview questions I am most often asked. The movie fails to tell the powerful story of how a convicted killer can change and after all these years become an asset to others with him in prison. The movie presents the bad news, but shouldn't we look for some good news in the midst of such agony? It is seldom told how one of the victim's family member portrayed in the movie has forgiven me. These are stories of hope, rather than the perpetuation of Manson's evil ideas. For this reason, the Christian outreach of was created.

Overall, the movie was fairly accurate in its representation of what we were willing to do, and what we did for Manson. The Manson case has taken on a life of its own. It does not deserve all of this attention. The story does not end with the arrest, conviction and incarceration of those caught up in this story. The pain will never completely go away, but at the same time for some of us, there has been a new beginning based upon the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Historical Accuracy
Character Portrayals:
The Girls?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

It Ain't Open Yet

So there's been a lot of hoop-lala about the re-opening of the LA Hall of Justice and a museum that will include a refurbished courtroom and the cell where Charlie was held during his 1970-1971 trial.  This last Wednesday, October 8th was the "re-dedication" of the building (see Backporch Tape's youtube post, here).

One would assume that immediately after a re-dedication of the building and museum, that the public would be allowed to visit thereafter.  Not so, Patty and Stoner Van Houten discovered on Thursday. They happily approached the building where three separate LA area newsvans were parked, wondering if Stoner would be interviewed in his Leslie shirt, if he would direct them to his Spahn Ranch Worker channel on youtube. They were way excited.

They made their way up the empty stairs and into the foyer where you will recognize this marbled shell where Red and Blue once posed. Wow! This is gonna be good, they mused.  Just then, two security guards approached and let them know that they were not allowed to be where they were, that the museum will not be open until next year! What a letdown. Oh, well.

If you know Stoner, you know that he is not one to let a little thing like that ruin his day.  So, they went around the corner and posed for this beauty.  Check out the look on the passerby's face:  priceless!

Anywhoo, don't go down there yet, because it ain't open!

Pt 2 Jay's Cherished Ring: Sharon Tate, The Beatles, Charles Manson, Satanism & Hollywood

Thanks, William Marshall!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Coda: The Mendocino Murders

Coda - a passage that ends a 
musical piece following 
the main body.
Judging by comments in the Witches of Mendocino Files posts we think there are some readers who aren't completely familiar with why that incident is important to the overall story - that many people still believe that the Manson Family may have been responsible for the murders of Clyda Dulaney and Nancy Warren.

Here is a recap of the entire story.

As you may remember, Manson sent a group of Family members up to Mendocino County to scout for a new permanent residence. This happened around May of 1968. Sadie, Mary and the gang were zealously trying to gain young recruits. They were dirty - they stunk and the bus stunk - they were also high profile with their drug use, even though they had infants in tow. The locals branded them the "Witches of Mendocino."

On June 21, 1968 they apparently dosed 17 year-old Allen Rosenthal on some acid. His mother called law enforcement. When they responded Allen was babbling about his legs being like snakes. Mom pointed the finger at the "Witches" and the raid was on.

The Manson Family (although they weren't called that publicly yet) were now the biggest story in Mendocino.

Here's something interesting we learned while researching the Mendocino fiasco:

In Mendocino County, Boonville and the Anderson Valley has its own language called Boontling. Here's the wiki on it as well as a video. They're not a definitive on the language but they give us a good idea of how it works. The Wiki article has references if any of you care to learn more. We wonder if the Witches may have picked up on Boontling and used a variation they created themselves. ZuZu's for candy comes to mind. The Family was well known to cackle in a language that only those in the know would have any idea what they were talking about. Is this where it began?

Law enforcement now began to run down leads in the case. Here are two articles from the Ukiah Press Democrat from October 15, 1968:

The second article tells the story of Clyda Dulany's children and what happened the morning the murders were discovered by her oldest son Johnny, who was seven years old at the time. Johnny having seen the bodies of his mother and grandmother woke his brothers. The grabbed their piggy banks and ran to a neighbor a quarter of a mile away.

This spurred Manson Blog to locate Johnny Ussery if he were indeed still living. We was and we did. He agreed to an interview. Our then Southeastern US Correspondent (St Circumstance) was dispatched to Johnny's house. Here is some of what he told Saint in his own words:

"I knew I was late because I could see the sun shining through my window, and that normally hasn't happened yet when I wake up.  I went out to my mother's bedroom and I immediately noticed the bed was still made, which I thought was weird. Her purse was open and dumped out all over the bed, which nobody had slept in. None of it made any sense. I went outside. There was a gravel walkway between our trailer and my grandmother's trailer. My grandmother lived in one trailer by herself, and mom, me and my brothers lived in another trailer right next door. We always went over there for meals and stuff. I went outside and right away I saw mom lying on the gravel between the trailers. The thing I'll never forget is that she was blonde, and her face looked the same color as her hair. She was all white. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I screamed like crazy and ran into my grandmothers trailer. The first thing I noticed was that the television was still on, but the screen was fuzzy. Then I saw her lying there the same way as mom. I ran out of there.  I didn’t want to pass back by my mother, so I went out of the back of my grandmother's trailer and went around the back to ours. I got up my brothers and dressed them and started to get them out of there. I will never understand why, but something made me stop and grab the three piggy banks we kept on top of the refrigerator. With one each in our arms, we ran to a neighbor’s house where I told them mommy and grandma are dead. I remember after a little while looking across the field at the trailer and seeing all the cop cars. I remember everything up to that point crystal clear."
"To my knowledge, nobody ever asked me a single time about the crimes. not one police officer ever. But remember what I told you earlier, after I got to the neighbors and told them what I had found, the next few years are mostly a blur. I don't remember almost anything. That lawsuit was really instigated by one person and any details of number, or sex, didn’t come from me. This person is the one who always pushed that stuff."
"You know what, you might think this is interesting too. My father did an unusual amount  of time in prison back in the day. You know how Charlie Manson is in Corcoran Prison now? Well, he used to be in this prison called Vacaville. Well, dad was at Vacaville for a while, and he told me he was walking down the halls one day with a bunch of guys, and they see Charlie Manson sweeping one of the floors. That was his job at the time - sweeping floors. Anyway, my dad sees he is not looking at them and shouts over to Charlie, 'Hey, who did that thing up in Ukiah?' Now dad told me there was no way Charlie could have known exactly which guy yelled it at him, but he looked up and looked dad right in the eye. He said back directly to dad, 'You'll never know will ya?' Then he looked back down and went back to sweeping without another word. Dad said it was eerie having him stare right into his eyes like that..."
"I’d love to find out who killed my mother and grandmother", Johnny told St. C. "Many others do as well", St. Circumstance replied back.

One result of publishing that story was that a childhood friend of Johnny's (Ginger) was able to make contact with him and now Johnny has pictures and home move clips of his mom that were presumed lost. That if nothing else made the endeavor worthwhile:

Clyda Dulaney


These murders were never officially solved. The presence of Manson Family members at the time in Mendocino County have led many to speculate that they could have been the culprits. Here is a 2008 Anderson Valley Advertiser article discussing the Dulaney/Warren murders. The Warren/Dulaney case begins about midway down column 1 :

Our posts on this topic were eye-opening to the authors of this blog. Not mentioned in the posts in any detail was that we also found and spoke to detectives and reporters from Mendocino County. Those contacts and other clues formed our personal opinions on what may have really happened. For now, we'll have to keep those cards close to our chests.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Witches of Mendocino Court Files (The Complete 83 Page PDF)

The Witches of Mendocino Court Files is now available to download. It has been compiled into a single 83 page PDF. has graciously agreed to host the document.

Thanks, CieloDrive!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paul Crockett's Marriage

Did you know that Paul Crockett got married to his long time wife on the 10th anniversary of the Tate murders?  I did some checking and found that the 8th of August was on a Wednesday in 1979 so it seems like that date was deliberately chosen.

How about that!  Celebrating what should be a joyous occasion on the anniversary of the Tate murders somehow seems weird, creepy and bizarre considering that he was so closely involved with the case and Family members.

The first document has Paul's middle name misspelled and the second document amends the first.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Witches of Mendocino Court Files Part 2

Here is the report from the Mendocino County Probation Department on Mary Brunner. It is less kind to Mary than Sadie's report was to her. I suppose it had something to do with Mary having been college educated and being a mother. The report certainly frowned on Mary having allowed Cathran Smith/Patricia Krenwinkel to claim Michael as her own child.

We hope to make the entire file available to everyone soon. There is more good stuff along with the procedural documents.