Monday, November 24, 2014

Searching For God in the Sixties - Dr. Dave Williams Part 3 - I Wasn't Directing Traffic, Lady!


Welcome to Part 3 (I Wasn't Directing Traffic, Lady!) of our 6 part series with Dr. Dave Williams, author of  Searching For God in the Sixties. Each part is being presented on Mondays. Dr. Dave is making himself available to answer questions in the comments section.


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To begin with, and to take care of one of the most persistent misunderstandings about Manson, he was never convicted of killing Sharon Tate or the LaBiancas. He was never even charged much less convicted of any of the murders that occurred that August in Los Angeles. The man who prosecuted Manson and put him away makes this quite clear in his book about the trial. In Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi goes to great length to describe how he had to put together a circumstantial case in order to convict Manson, not of murder, but of "conspiracy to commit murder." Even Bugliosi admits that Manson had no direct role in the killings. Instead, Bugliosi had to show that Manson somehow directed the killings and then stayed back while his followers got their hands bloody. But the problem was, as Bugliosi admits, "Manson rarely gave direct orders." Indeed, Manson rarely speaks in direct or clear statements. Instead, he is, said interviewer David Felton, "a super acid rap - symbols, parables, gestures, nothing literal, everything enigmatic, resting nowhere, stopping briefly to overturn an idea, stand it on its head, then exploit the paradox." He may never have actually told anyone to commit any of the murders. Bugliosi argued instead that Manson implied what he wanted done and that his followers inferred that intention. The command was never explicitly stated, and to this day Manson insists that his followers misunderstood and took literally what had been only another of his mind games.

Though this mind game ended up in deadly reality, it was not the only such game played at the group's desert hideout. Asked what they did every day at the ranch, Manson told Tom Snyder in a 1981 interview, "We played games, - forgot who we were, - went off into other dimensions." They even had a name for such game-playing, "The Magical Mystery Tour." But not everyone understood it as just a game. As Manson explained it:
We speed down the highway in a 1958 automobile that won't go but fifty, and an XKE Jaguar goes by, and I state to Clem, "Catch him, Clem, and we'll rob him or steal all of his money," you know. And he says, "What shall we do?" I say, "Hit him on the head with a hammer." We Magical Mystery Tour it.

Then Linda Kasabian gets on the stand and says: "They were going to kill a man, they were going to kill a man in an automobile." To you it seems serious. But like Larry Kramer and I would get on a horse and we would ride over to Wichita, Kansas, and act like cowboys. We make it a game on the ranch.
The particular game that ended up in brutal murder has been described many times, but it bears repeating. That it was believable, even to these uneducated drop-outs, tells us as much about where the country was at in 1969 as it does about the particular consciousness of these individuals. What made Manson such a potent symbol was that his mad fantasy could just as easily have been anyone's. Manson, like Vietnam, was where the trail of tears was heading all along.

It begins with the Beatles, and with the Beatles' celebrated White Album that came out in 1968. In it, while tripping on acid, Manson heard the message that put it all together for him. There would be a war between blacks and whites; whites would lose. Manson and his followers would hide out in the desert when the slaughter took place. When it was over they would emerge from their hiding places and somehow convince the blacks that they should be made the leaders of this new world.

He got all this not just from the Beatles but also from the Bible. Perhaps his most fascinating connection was to put side by side the Beatles song "Revolution 9" with "Revelations 9" from the Bible. Revelations, the final book of the New Testament, has always been the favorite of mystics because its wild apocalyptic imagery is so bluntly addressed not to the literal but to symbolic consciousness. For those who read scripture not as a moral code of social behavior nor as a literal history book but as a symbolic rendering of a reality out of time and out of mind, the book of Revelations is the proof text. No one can read John's visions of the beasts with the seven heads and seven horns and believe that it is a rational, literal narrative. This is mysticism.

Nevertheless, Manson seems to have taken the literal descriptions and compared them, as so many mystics have done so often in the past, to literal events and persons in his own world. This lead him to imagine that the predictions of Scripture were indeed addressed to his times. Revelations 9 begins with the fifth angel being given the key to the bottomless pit. Out of that pit comes, among other things, locusts "and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power." These locusts, Manson reasoned, were insects, bugs. This was a hidden reference to the Beatles. They were ordered not to hurt the grass nor any people "who had not the seal of God on their foreheads." The shapes of these locusts "were like unto horses prepared unto battle." They were the four horsemen of the apocalypse out to wage the battle of Armageddon. And though they had faces of men, says scripture, "they had hair as the hair of women." Hard as it may be to believe now, the length of the Beatles' hair was a scandal when they first arrived in the US in 1964. The breastplates described in scripture were their electric guitars, the "sound of their wings … as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle" was their music. Their "tails like unto scorpions" were the cords of their electric guitars, and "the stings in their tails" was their electrified power.

This and more convinced Manson that the message was being sent from the Universe to him through the Beatles. So he turned from scripture to interpret the text of the lyrics of the album itself. There he found a consistent theme lurking between the otherwise cryptic lines and apparently random songs. Only on the surface was it all meaningless and random. Like life itself, it only appeared random to those who had not eyes to see. To Manson, the message was clear:
What do you think it means? It's the battle of Armageddon. It's the end of the world. It was the Beatles' Revolution 9 that turned me on to it. It predicts the overthrow of the establishment. The pit will be opened and that's when it will all come down. A third of all mankind will die.
"Rocky Raccoon" was the song that made the implicit connection to the black revolution."Coon. You know. That's a word they use for black people," Manson explained to Rolling Stone while he was still in jail waiting to be tried. "Blackbird" was a song calling on black people to "rise." "Piggies" was a description of the rich establishment which would be overthrown. And "Helter Skelter" was a description of the battle of Armageddon itself, pure chaos and confusion. But "Revolution 9" was the song that Manson listened to and talked about most. It's a good 6 minutes of disorganized, disconnected noise, babies crying, machine guns going off, church hymns, car horns, whispered words, football yells, and the repeated chant of "number nine, number nine, number nine." Even more than Revelations 9, it is so freefloating as to allow itself to be interpreted in almost any way the listener wants - or fears. As such, it serves the purpose of much great art, that it bypasses the logical mind and zaps straight into the subliminal, allowing a direct flow of associations from the subconscious. Listening to it, Manson was inspired.

Manson's crime, thus, was an act of imaginative literary criticism. Had he been a professor at Berkeley, rather than a hustler on the street, this reading might have won him tenure, a different sort of life term than the one he now serves. Did he believe it literally? How is one to tell? He may not have known himself. Here is where the line between the "real" world of cause and effect rational logic and the romantic realm of imagination disappears. Bugliosi, the prosecutor, is all logic and literalism, pure arminianism, pure Nurse Ratched. Rejecting Manson's interpretation of "Helter Skelter" out of hand, he says "There was a simpler explanation. In England, home of the Beatles, helter skelter is another name for a slide in an amusement park."

But so what? Does it even matter whether Manson knew this? Symbols are always both their literal selves and the things they symbolize. The existence of a literal object does not by itself discredit any symbolic meanings that might be attached to it. Perhaps Manson was thinking along the lines of James Baldwin with his argument that to whites blacks represent the dark subconscious and whites conscious rationality. Perhaps Manson's race war between blacks and whites was itself a symbol of the war of the subconscious rising up to take over consciousness as Norman O. Brown said it must. Manson was asked if he thought the Beatles' intended the meanings that he found in their texts. His answer speaks to this very problem of authorial intention:
I think it's a subconscious thing. I don't know whether they did or not. But it's there. It's an association in the subconscious. This music is bringing on the revolution, the unorganized overthrow of the establishment. The Beatles know in the sense that the subconscious knows.
Nor is it clear how Manson's followers understood him. Perhaps, as he claimed, they took him more literally than he intended. Perhaps they heard things spoken through him which he never intended to say? It is clear that at least one of his followers, a girl named Ouish, saw that both interpretations were possible. She told her friend Barbara Hoyt, "We all have to go through Helter Skelter. If we don't do it in our heads, we will have to do it physically. If you don't die in your head, you'll die when it comes down." Here, the literal and the metaphysical meanings run on parallel tracks.

Manson's main defense is that his followers, sensing some frustration that his predicted Armageddon still had not occurred, set out on their own to get it started, to show the blacks how to do it, and to show the world their leader. According to Manson, they did it as if to say, "Here, we want you to see this guy, but I didn't want to be seen." Just as Lenin, unwilling to wait for history to achieve its inevitable Marxist end, had jump-started the world-wide proletariat revolution in pre-capitalist Russia, these zealots, utterly taken by Manson's vision, wanted to bring their revolution quickly to life. After the Tate killings, when Susan Atkins proudly told him that they had just given him the world, Manson claims to have shouted, "You dumb fucking cunt, I already had the world. You just put me back in jail again."

Just as Luther was astonished and then horrified at the literal way in which the Anabaptists of Munster tried to put the "Priesthood of all believers" into practice in the world, so others have been amused and amazed at the extent to which our innocent American willingness to believe in a literal and material Kingdom Come remains part of our culture. Here too we Americans are the descendants not of the Lutheran but of the Calvinist Reformation heavily tainted by Anabaptist enthusiasm for the Coming Kingdom of Zion here in this world literally in the flesh. If Luther came up with the idea of a door, Calvin pushed it open just a crack, a crack through which poured many of the zealots who had been looking for a way to break out of the structures in Europe. The Kingdom of God in America has been the dream of enthusiasts since long before the nation began. Our antinomians are the ones who took the words seriously, who took them all the way beyond mere symbolism, who came to America because they really did believe that here in this world and in this flesh they might create the Kingdom of Freedom in which all hypocrisy and pretense were shed and the pure bliss of essential truth could be had. Gypsy, one of Manson's more articulate followers, put it thus:
The Dream can be real when you see it, and when you live it. And that's what the Beatles are singing about. They're singing it's all a dream, life passes by on a screen. They're singing it, but they're still asleep singing it. They haven't woken up to the fact that what they're singing about is more than a song. They could be living it….

Give up everything and follow me, Christ said, and we have given up a lot to follow our dream. There are other communes, but everyone has their old lady and their old man. It's just the same old song in different costumes. There are no couples here. We are all just one woman and one man. "All you need is love." We were the only ones gullible enough to take the Beatles seriously. We were the only people stupid enough to believe every word of it.
Gypsy uses the word "stupid" but she doesn't mean it in a negative sense. She means it in the sense of being innocent as babies, as being, to use a line from another Beatles song, "the fool on the hill" whom everyone laughs at but who sees it all. Here we have a 20th century American, like her predecessors, trying to convince worldly skeptics that in America the mystic promise really can be made flesh.

It must be said that if Manson did not really want his followers to initiate the race war he called "Helter Skelter," he had the responsibility to make that perfectly clear, but he didn't. Instead, he allowed ambiguity and uncertainty to proliferate. He stayed within his own circle and did not take responsibility for the influence he was having on what was going on in other people's circles. Like the cagey ex-con that he is, he played his cards close to his own chest. In the world of prison, that ethic works. In the outside world, a broader definition of responsibility comes into play.

If Manson is to be held responsible for his ambiguous creation of a scenario that others then went and brought to life (or death!), what is to be said of anyone who writes a book or a movie or sings a song that then inspires others to go out and live its message? Is Marx to be held personally responsible for Stalin's massacres? Should Orson Wells have been tried for the deaths of those people who killed themselves mistakenly thinking his "War of the Worlds" was a real alien invasion? Should the creators of violent television shows be jailed if a kid picks up a gun and imitates what he sees on TV? And what then of the Beatles themselves? Don't they have some responsibility for what Manson heard in their music?

If metaphorical obscurity combined with a violent suggestiveness are criminal activities, then the Old Testament itself deserves to be banned. What of the bloody account of the Children of Israel's re-conquest of Canaan, with whole cities slaughtered and blood flooding up to the horses' thighs? Or the text can be read, as Jonathan Edwards did, as pure metaphor:
There is no necessity in supposing that the word death, or the Hebrew word so translated, if used in the manner that has been supposed, to have been figurative at all. It does not appear but that this word, in its true and proper meaning might signify perfect misery and sensible destruction, though the word was also applied to signify something more external and visible. There are many words in our language … which are applied to signify external things,… yet these words do as truly and properly signify other things of a more spiritual, internal nature.
Death, in this typological, symbolic reading of scripture, thus becomes a signifier of spiritual or ego death, the experience which was said to be a precursor of conversion. The Puritan Thomas Hooker called it "a shiveredness of soul all to pieces." Jonah's "death" in the belly of the whale and Christ's death on the cross thus can be read metaphorically as well as literally. Those who misunderstood the spiritual reading and took the words literally have been responsible for millions of deaths over the 2000 years of Christian history. Perhaps this is why Plato wanted to banish all poets from his perfect Republic? The Beatles were poets too, creating images and messages which had repercussions.

Like so many others in the Sixties, the four Beatles followed a familiar progression from innocence to romanticism to decadence and back again. In the innocent early Sixties, they sang naïve teeny-bopper love songs like "I want to hold your hand." As they and the decade aged, they toked deeper into dope, let their hair grow longer, and played music further and further out there. They remained enormously popular because their audience was undergoing the same transitions they were. They evolved along with the baby boomer population they were playing for. "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club band" with its Woodstock fun and happiness approach to the drug culture was perfect for 1967. "The White Album" with its faceless cover and its demonic possibilities spoke to the madness of 1968 and 1969. "Revolution 9" especially was a bonfire in a tinder dry forest. Its violent associations, provocative noises, and complete incomprehensibility played to the heightened paranoia of the time. As the Stones had sung "Sympathy for the Devil" during the worst moments of Altamont, so the Beatles, by putting together a series of images upon which frightened people could project their worst unconscious fears, had to be at least partially responsible for the chaos that followed. It is perhaps not a coincidence that their next album, "Abbey Road," was a total reversion, a plea to "Get back, Jo Jo, Get back to where you once belonged" and "Let it Be." As David Felton wrote in The Mindfuckers, "I just can't help thinking: If Abbey Road had come out sooner, maybe Sharon Tate would be alive today."

If this is so, then Manson's crime was that he never clearly designated the line between reality and imagination, between the fantasy and the deed, the literal and the symbolic. In that ambiguous realm, he moved from what we consider rational to the irrational. He abandoned all civilized self-control and became the complete antinomian, outside the structures of the legal and the mental law.

At the trial, Manson's followers certainly claimed they were doing his bidding. He had said to them, "Just do what you have to," and they had had a pretty good idea what they thought he meant. Manson's proven presence at the LaBianca's residence, having driven the killers there, undercuts whatever claim he continues to make that he was an innocent whose followers took it upon themselves entirely on their own to begin the slaughter.

But Manson's repeated claim that he "broke no law of man or God" is not entirely without basis either. For in the prison world in which he grew up and lived most of his life, people are responsible for their own deeds - Period! The act of murder is what is punished, not some vague indirect suggestion by a third party. "I take responsibility for my acts," he insists. "Every man must take responsibility for his acts. We each live within our own circles." To this day, Manson still does not understand how the law can hold him responsible for murders that other people actually committed. His stubborn refusal to confess his guilt, as misguided as it may be, is at the very least an honest statement of his beliefs and not an artful dodge. He really believed it relevant that, as he shouted at Diane Sawyer, "I wasn't directing traffic, lady."

Indeed, that is the heart of the enigma of Manson. That is why back in 1969 and still today, people find something fascinating about him. Bugliosi and other spokesmen for society have tried at times to say that Manson is little more than another two-bit thug, a thief, a pimp, a hustler out for himself, a murderous con filled with uncontrollable rage. It is too neat and too well-known a box. More is going on.

Manson's true crime, and the reason he will remain in jail until his death, is that he didn't just blur, he erased the line between reality and imagination. He crossed over to the other side, completely outside the combine. Most of us are like the little boy crying at the corner because, he sobs, "I want to run away from home, but my parents won't let me cross the street." Manson demonstrated that the street could be crossed, that society's rules and moral codes, even its prohibitions against murder, are artificial constructs and not to be thought essential or absolute, making him a post-modernist before Derrida. Once the human mind is finally liberated from the rituals and traditions, the taboos and inhibitions, which have bound the web of human culture together, anything becomes possible. To some this is the meaning of freedom. To others, it is the definition of insanity. "Crazy" becomes a label applied to those who don't agree with the consensus. Even Emily Dickinson felt that

Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevail-
Assent and you are sane-
Demur you're straightway dangerous-
And handled with a chain-

But the need to break the bonds of the combine's programming requires that occasionally people step outside the bounds of what is allowed and dare the wilderness, at whatever risk. Says Manson, "It's so abstract that someone has to carry insanity. Someone's got to be insane. Some one's got to be the bad guy." Looking at the world around him, Manson was not always convinced that he was the only one. Acknowledging the disintegration of the old paradigm and the resulting confusion since the Sixties, he recently remarked, "A long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy."

Individuals have crossed that line before, many times, but what Manson also did, and what he was convicted for, was, like Socrates, corruption of the innocent. He spun the tales that they believed. His imagination created the constructions which they then acted upon. Bugliosi could find no evidence that Manson ever said directly that his followers should actually kill anyone. What he claims, and what seems believable, is that they believed he wanted them to kill and, freed from the usual inhibitions that would keep middle-class American kids from slaughtering strangers, that they acted out his fantasy and did not need his direct command.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Star's art

Want to buy some of Star's original artwork? It's available on ETSY. I couldn't help but notice she likes the number 8. In numerology, the number 8 symbolizes money and power. Hmmmm...

 Manson with bandana - $1,150.00


 Get On Home - $1,180.00


 Tornado Whale Ants - $1,380.00


 The Whirld - $1,500.00


 Charlie Sunshine (print) - $15


Small Tree - $1,150.00


Painted Frame - $1,200.00


 ATWA Symbol - $1,350.00


 ATWA Design - $1,000.00


 Tornado Whale Ants (print) - $15


 The Wirld (print) - $20




Thanks Candy and Nuts!
 
 


 



I found this painting by Star for sale at Ebay, presumably being sold by someone who purchased it from Star.  The tone of this one is quite a bit different from the others.  DebS



Friday, November 21, 2014

The Manson Family Hollywood Hit List

For what seems like months I have seen a seller at Ebay offering a headline ie: the tabloid cover of an issue of Midnight, with the names of nine Hollywood stars that were "marked for death" by the Manson Family.  Asking price for just the cover, $14.95!!!  I didn't want the cover I wanted the article.  I finally found it!

 
 




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Debra Tate on Manson Star Marriage License

The embed feature for this video was disabled. To view it, CLICK HERE





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This Is An Open Wound

I'm not sure why this video stopped working, but here is a DIRECT LINK

Got it streaming again, but I'll leave the link just in case. Now, back to work...




Monday, November 17, 2014

It Seems to be True Star and Charlie Got a Marriage License!

CORCORAN, Calif. (AP) — Mass murderer Charles Manson has gotten a license to marry a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison.

The Kings County marriage license, viewed Monday by The Associated Press, was issued Nov. 7 for the 80-year-old Manson and Afton Elaine Burton, who left her Midwestern home nine years ago and moved to Corcoran, California — the site of the prison — to be near Manson. She maintains several websites advocating Manson's innocence.

Read the full story here-

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-charles-manson-gets-marriage-license-215524033.html




Searching For God in the Sixties - Dr. Dave Williams Part 2 - The Man in the Mirror


Welcome to Part 2 (The Man in the Mirror) of our 6 part series with Dr. Dave Williams, author of  Searching For God in the Sixties. Each part is being presented on Mondays. Dr. Dave is making himself available to answer questions in the comments section.


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The light at the end of the tunnel may have been the metaphor for Vietnam, for the hawks victory, for the doves a train coming at us. But both were wrong.  The war was but one more symbolic rendering of the escape of consciousness from structure to the wilderness. The light at the end of the long tunnel of consciousness turned out to be, not victory, not a train, not the Garden of Eden, but the gleam in Charlie Manson's eyes.

Terror manifests itself in many forms, most of them coming not from outside ourselves but from within. The external objects and events that scare us awaken fears slumbering in what Emily Dickinson called the cellars of the mind. The beasts under the bed, the monsters in the night shadows moving behind the trees are the projections of our own internal fears onto the landscape of the world. Enough real evil does exist to sustain our projections, but in the end even the projections are rationalizations, lies we tell ourselves to prevent our having to face the real fear within ourselves. We need external demons to keep the demons in our souls at bay. This, according to Baldwin and Ellison, is the role that blacks had played in white consciousness before the Civil Rights movement freed them.

By the end of the Sixties, the beliefs of the old military/industrial combine had unraveled. The protective shell had been shattered and thrown away. With our protective social constructs crumbling, all that was left was the state of nature waiting to reveal itself as either friend or fiend. The idyllic suburbia of "Leave it to Beaver" had become a bad joke. John Wayne was no longer there to protect us from the Indians or lead the way to the next watering hole.... and, as at Altamont, the hot sun was climbing over the rim of the desert. Out of that desert emerged the very apparition that had always been there coiled up in the heart of the culture. Indians, wolves, monsters under the bed. Commies coming to get us, the Viet Cong, "Victor Charley", and finally that other Charley, Charlie Manson.

Joan Didion remembers that in Los Angeles in August, 1969, "everything was unmentionable but nothing was unimaginable. This mystical flirtation with the idea of 'sin' -this sense that it was possible to go too far, and that many people were doing it - was very much with us." She remembered when the first reports came in, garbled, confused, contradictory, and, she wrote, "I also remember this, and wish I did not: I remember that no one was surprised."

"I am the man in the mirror," says Charles Manson. And in that at least he may be right. "Anything you see in me is in you…. I am you…. And when you can admit that you will be free. I am just a mirror." Nor is that the least that he is right about. And because he was and has since become even more of a symbol, not just of the end of the Sixties, but of the terror that lies at the heart of the darkest cave in consciousness, he compels a more careful study.

Why then is Charlie Manson, as Geraldo Rivera said, "the stuff of a nation's nightmares?" Not for what he did, nor even for what he said. Many others have killed more people more brutally. The answer is because, as Didion foretold, we found in him an icon upon which to project our own latent fears. We took the load off the black man and put it instead on him. No one was surprised because everyone knew the potential was there, in each and all of us. So Manson became a living metaphor of our own latent demons. He became Abaddon, the God of the bottomless pit. We looked into Manson's eyes and saw in those dark caves what we most feared within ourselves, the paranoia of what might happen if you go too far. He was the monster in the wilderness, the shadow in the night forest, the beast said to lurk in the Terra Incognita beyond the edges of the map. By projecting our monsters onto Manson, and then locking him up for life, we imagined we had put the beast back in its cage.

If the world is the web we weave to protect us from the void, then Manson's eyes were black holes into that void. This was the downside of freedom; this even more than Altamont was what conservatives had been warning against. Out of their fear of what human beings might come to, they had defended social structures like segregation and argued for the need to preserve order in Vietnam. Because of that, conservative apologists for structure lost their credibility. Their fear of sin had overwhelmed and frozen them in place. They clung to their Egyptian slavery and denied that there could ever actually be a promised land. To have no faith in the future dooms us to stagnation, but of the many thousands of the Children of Israel who followed Moses out of Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb made it to the Promised Land. Of the rest, "their carcasses rotted in the wilderness."

Charlie Manson was exactly what the establishment foresaw and feared in 1517 when Martin Luther had first dared to suggest that truth lay not in the rationalizations of the scholastics but in the subjectivities of the spirit. Such philosophical abstractions are fine for the educated who converse with each other in Latin and, in the final analysis, know what social codes sustain them. But to preach such things to peasants invites anarchy of the wildest sort and leads to such events as the Anabaptist rebellion at Muenster. Even Luther recoiled in horror at the extremes to which those radical Protestants took his ideas. He never imagined that Faith would be achieved here, on earth, in the literal realm of time and space.

The antinomian strain which runs through American culture began in Martin Luther's Reformation with its declaration of Sola Fides, Faith Alone, superior to logic, and with the Priesthood of all believers, the belief that anyone might experience the subjective authority of God in the soul. Luther rejected the radicals' application of this to the political worldly realm and blessed the soldiers who slaughtered the enthusiasts of Muenster. But John Calvin, who had married an Anabaptist, constructed a system in Geneva, which imagined a new order based upon those few people who could be identified as members of the elect. He dared to believe that a few people could escape the solipsistic maze of human stupidity and break on through to Zion. Upon these rocks would be built a new church and a new society that would be Israel reborn. This is the ideology that founded the American colonies, the faith that the invisible would be made visible in us. This was the legacy of the Radical Reformation of Europe carried to America by English, Scots, and Dutch Calvinists, German Anabaptists, Bohemian Husserites, and French Huguenots. No wonder American culture has always produced rebels and outlaws, madmen and saints, who claim to know and speak for God, who claim that they and not the institutional church members are the true elect, truly awakened and truly free.

In 1636, Puritan John Winthrop had seen Charlie Manson in Ann Hutchinson's eyes. Winthrop believed in the possibility of creating on earth Calvin's "Kingdom of Freedom," as his 1629 Arbella Sermon showed, but he also knew full well that not all spirits are divine. The Devil can clothe himself in the robes of righteousness and lead innocent souls astray. Ann Hutchinson's antinomian subjectivity, itself a clear echo of "the enthusiasts and anabaptists" of Munster, threatened not just patriarchal authority or political stability but human sanity itself. Political and social structures exist to back up mental structures, and in return the collective consciousness of the people helps to sustain the institutions of the state. They need each other: "no Pope, no king." The state backs up the church, and the church provides the beliefs that give us meaning. Once you start taking apart the structures that sustain us, there is no telling what else will fall. There is no telling to what extremes the human mind will go. At Ann Hutchinson's trial, Winthrop proclaimed,
These disturbances that have come among the Germans have been all grounded on revelations, and so they that have vented them have stirred up their hearers to … cut the throats one of another, and these have been the fruits of them, and whether the devil may inspire the same into their hearts I know not. For I am fully persuaded that Mrs. Hutchinson is deluded by the devil.
Manson, too, following his own revelations, stirred up his hearers, and as a result throats were cut. As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

In 1636 Ann Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts, but the Puritans still ended up falling to their own idolatry. Believing themselves no longer sinners in the wilderness but saints at ease in Zion, they imagined that they knew the truth and thus tried to cement their Israel into place. Eventually another generation rebelled against this idolatry in the name of the living spirit and set out once again in search of the Kingdom of love. Such awakenings inevitably lead, as they did in 1741 and 1802, to excesses of enthusiasm that threaten not just self-crucifixion but the disintegration of a whole culture.

Romantic periods breed such antinomian excess. The command to follow ones heart wherever it might go very well might lead off the deep end. Camille Paglia has argued that romanticism almost always leads to decadence, that Rousseau with his noble savages was followed by the Marquis de Sade:
The continuum of empathy and emotion leads to sex. Failure to realize that was the Christian error. The continuum of sex leads to sadomasochism. Failure to realize that was the error of the Dionysian Sixties. Dionysus expands identity but crushes individuals. There is no liberal dignity of the person in the Dionysian. The god gives latitude but no civil rights.
The American romantic Ralph Waldo Emerson urged his readers to trust their own intuitions regardless of social conventions or the moral code. "Truth," he wrote, "is handsomer than the affectation of love." Love itself must be rejected "when it pules and whines." At the execution of the religious fanatic John Brown, who had lead a raid on Harper's Ferry after God told him to stir up a slave rebellion, Emerson proclaimed his gallows "as glorious as the cross." The somewhat less romantic Nathaniel Hawthorne muttered that no man was ever more justly hanged.

But the antinomian strain is so strong in American culture that despite every return to structure, it survives to rise again. For every attempt to build a Constitution that will contain the excesses of the mob, there is the insistence that a Bill of Rights be included which insures that individualism is allowed to flourish. After all, hadn't the leading Conservative, Barry Goldwater himself, said in 1964, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice?" The Republican Party today remains torn between a moralistic wing that would pass laws controlling everyone's behavior and a libertarian wing that would abolish many of our laws. Pro-life crusaders torching abortion clinics, Oliver North refusing to obey the laws of Congress, Timothy McVeigh's bombing the federal building in Oklahoma City, even Bush's dismantling of economic regulations to set the markets free are as much in the antinomian tradition as Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King, Jr. Paul Hill, the Presbyterian minister who murdered a doctor who performed abortions, quoted the abolitionist John Brown at his trial. The Unibomber Ted Kazynski and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh were two sides of the same coin. In America, even the so-called conservatives have a red streak of antinomianism in their souls.

Charles Manson, then, is in good company. And what makes him an antinomian rather than simply a lawless thug and "mass murdering dog" is that his deeds and words are buttressed by an implicit philosophy. He constructed a belief system and believed it and preached it. Another con-man could be easily ignored, but Manson has proven himself faithful to his beliefs. He is not faking them to get out; instead, his refusal to abandon them keeps him locked up tightly in jail.

Manson is fascinating, even mesmerizing, because his voice comes from somewhere else, somewhere faintly recognizable. Emerson said that if you "speak your latent conviction it shall be the universal sense." That is, if you speak the most honest truth of your heart, others will recognize their own most honest truths and listen. Like Malcolm X, and Emerson himself, Manson meant what he said. Like Malcolm X, he had no formal schooling but he is sincere, and as Malcolm X boasted: his sincerity are his credentials.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Just When You Thought You'd Heard It All...NECROPHILIA!?!

Friend of the Bog Zachary "dug deep" (BAH dump bump) to find the following lengthy Village Voice article summarizing Sanders, but with a twist. Published on October 14, 1971, it is entitled "Chop Chop: Age of Psychedelic Fascism" and was written by Lucian K. Truscott IV (the great-great-great-great grandson of president Thomas Jefferson of all people):
Most of it you will notice if you read through is merely a retelling of the seedier allegations of pornography, S&M, and occultism found in Sanders. Truscott goes a wee bit further here though when he suggests that the 80 or so young Jane Does found around the same time as the Tate La Bianca Murders may have been part of a specialty pimping service that supplied fresh corpses for Hollywood types interested in trying out necrophilia. Just when you thought you'd heard it all. If you don;t want to read through the entire article to find the passage in question, it is in the image above under the page with the shoe and anvil illustrations, marked "continued from page 8."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Millie McCormack

This is a human interest story about Millie McCormack who was a secretary in the Inyo County District Attorney's office at the time that Charles Manson and other Family members were arrested. Millie passed away in 2008 in her hometown of Lowell MA.


In The Middle Of The Manson Mess

The Sun- Lowell MA
Monday November 8, 1976
By David Sylvester Sun Staff

LOWELL- Inyo County California is a wild desolate desert lit by spectacular sunsets but still is sometimes cold at night.  Millie McCormack remembers she could drive 200 miles before stopping for a red light or seeing a building with an elevator.  In her conservation Commission office at city hall, she also remembers some of the four years she spent living and working in Independence, the county seat, with the District Attorney's office as a secretary.  But she has forgotten when it was that the lid of secrecy descended on the D.A.'s office, sometime in the fall of 1969.

Office work had been relatively routine: an arrest of hippies for a stolen dune buggy, some work on where marijuana plants were growing in the desert.  But one day, the office was locked from the inside, no telephone calls were accepted and Millie was told not to discuss a particular case with her fellow workers.

Investigators from Los Angeles had visited the District Attorney Frank Fowles, early in the morning to question the suspects in the dune buggy theft, particularly the leader of the seemingly religious cult, Charles Manson.  For several months Millie would have a close-up view of one of the decade's most bizarre murder cases: the murder of Sharon Tate, her friends and the LaBianca family.

Millie is the blond-haired, sunny smiling woman at the conservation commission office who always answers the phone calls cheerfully but can be exacting with the official minutes she types.  She grew up in Lowell but moved to California with her family in 1955 and had worked for a year at San Quentin prison typing psychological reports before landing the job in the Independence District Attorney's office.

She returned to her native Lowell in 1971 and is now working full time in the basement city hall office, answering questions and typing letters and minutes for three city commissions, the conservation commission, the zoning board of appeals and the housing review board.  Next June she will graduate from the University of Lowell with a bachelor's degree in business management and psychology.  "It's something I have always wanted to do for 20 years, " she says.  "Call it motivation."

Looking back on the Manson case, she remembers details, sometimes vividly, sometimes vaguely.  "I think about it if a new book comes out, a new movie," she says.  "I think it's something I want to forget."  At home two books "Helter Skelter" and "The Family", lie unread.  She didn't even watch the recent television show about the Manson case.  After living with the events for months, she knows enough about the case already.

Even though the trial of Charles Manson and his family occurred in Los Angeles, the case actually began in Independence where Manson and 24 followers had been arrested in October at Barker Ranch in southern Death Valley. A lead on unrelated of a blue-flecked dune buggy and a red Toyota had lead Inyo County officers to the Manson ranch.  No one thought the arrest had anything to do with the shocking murder of Sharon Tate and four friends at home August 9 and the similarly brutal murder of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca the night after.

All this was just front-page headlines in Los Angeles, 225 miles away from Millie in Independence.  But a slim connection between the girlfriend of a suspect in a murder case and the Barker Ranch suspects led Los Angeles investigators to Independence to visit the Barker Ranch, some 80 miles away.

Millie remembers the movies taken by the Los Angeles police and Fowles which showed the huge boulders and the rough terrain on the trip to the inaccessible Barker Ranch.  "You wouldn't believe anything would go over them," she says.

She also remembers the babies that had been picked up during the raid, and particularly on in the office.   "The baby looked like he had been bruised," she says, "But he was very healthy.  That's why they couldn't understand the bruises."  Finally, health officials found that the babies had been kept in the desert below cactus plants but had not been hurt.  In fact, Millie remembers the baby she saw was "the healthiest baby you would ever want to see."

Some of the 24 family members arrested on the October raid were released on insufficient evidence, such as Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and Sandy Good.  But the others including Manson remained in the Independence jail while the Los Angeles police tried to fit the pieces of the murders together.  So many times Millie heard the officers talking about how they couldn't let the statute of limitations run out on the stolen dune buggy charge, just in case Manson got off on the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Even though the case would be sensational later as the connections were slowly made, Millie says other small incidents caught her attention more.  Once an F.B.I. agent was showing her how he drew his gun from the holster.  "It was hard to type because they'd be showing the fastest way to draw a gun," she says with a laugh.  "They'd be down on their knees showing how to hold a gun steady."

She remembers different episodes of the case before anyone knew how important it would become: when the suspects had their Miranda jail rights read to them in jail when the father of one visited them in the office and wore a necklace of flowers.  Millie thought, "No wonder they are the way they are..."  I was very biased back then, very straight laced myself," she grins and admits freely.

But so much of the usual business kept her busy that she was distracted from the case.  She still typed reports, subpoenas, writs, took dictation and notes when the D.A. investigators questioned the suspects, wrote the state and even Scotland Yard and Interpol.  "It was exciting but at the time I didn't realize the magnitude of it, " Millie recalls.  But she vividly recalls being left to watch the babies and Sandy and Squeaky once.  A baby dropped its pacifier on the floor, so the girls asked Millie to wash it.  "I thought it would take 10 seconds to go and wash it because the baby had started crying," Millie recalls, "And when I got back, they were going through the files."  Resourcefully enough, Millie just went over and sat on the folders they were looking through.

Of course, she doesn't forget Manson himself who she saw about five times, walking into the Independence courtroom just down the hall from the D.A.'s office.  He had tiny pupils, so his eyes appeared almost totally white, and wore a long unkempt beard.  He had been chained at his wrists and shackled at his ankles so that he shuffled looking small and frail.  "Usually they don't shackle the legs of a prisoner and that's what made such an impression on my mind.,"  Millie says.  "It's kind of shocking to be close to someone shackled and chained."

In Los Angeles, a rumor was going around that family members were going to Independence to either bail Manson out or shoot him out of prison.

The D.A. Frank Fowles, sent his wife, Cathy, out of the county and the Assistant D.A., Buck Gibbons, bought a German Shepard to guard his house.  Millie's husband taught her how to shoot a 30-06 which they kept in the bedroom.  Millie remembers it coolly but says she was "surprised" when the attorney's wives were sent away.

As Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles District Attorney prosecuting the Tate-LaBianca cases reports, a lot of reporters showed up in Independence that holiday weekend but no bail money and no escape attempt.

While Manson was in jail, Squeaky and Sandy stayed in a motel in Independence and loitered around the corner park near the jail.  Millie says the high school kids were especially attracted to the two girls and they would "talk to anyone who would listen."  Millie had to warn her own children to stay away from the Manson girls, although she let them have three days off school to attend the court hearings.

"There was an awful lot of publicity and I think some glory was being attached to them," Millie says seriously.  "I wanted them to see the real side, that there's no glory."  My son said he was glad he had the chance to see him, but there was a lot of irate people who thought the school shouldn't have let the kids out," Millie says.  She wrote a note specifically so her children could be excused from school.

On December 9, 1969, Manson, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Charles Watson were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder by the Los Angeles County grand jury.  They were transferred to Los Angeles leaving Independence in peace.

But discoveries in the case continued and in one final way, Millie became involved in the case even more.  A friend who worked in the motel where Squeaky and Sandy had stayed called her saying she had found letters in the girl's room.  Millie's friend thought of selling them to the Los Angeles Times, but Millie convinced her to turn them over to Fowles.  The investigators were interested in the letters enough to want Millie to photocopy them.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Searching For God in the Sixties - Dr. Dave Williams Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of our 6 part series with Dr. Dave Williams, author of  Searching For God in the Sixties. Each part will be presented on Mondays starting now. Dr. Dave will be available to answer questions in the comments section. A special thank you to Daniel - a quiet contributor to the blog, for the assist.


Baby boomer David R. Williams, born in Boston in 1949, experienced the ’60s up close and personal. Taking 1968 off before entering college, he shipped out with the merchant marine, fought against the Vietnam War, worked to elect McCarthy president, rioted in Grant Park, and arrived at Harvard in time for the campus takeover. He later earned a Masters in Theology from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in American Civilization from Brown. He wrote Wilderness Lost and Sin Boldly! and won the "Excellence In Teaching" Award at George Mason University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Czechoslovakia in 1991, has two sons, Nathan and Sam, and lives in a former black community, "Swampoodle," where he writes and brews his own bitter beer.

David Williams' book, Searching for God in the Sixties, contains an extended study of Manson in the context of the spiritual and intellectual movements of not just that day but all of American culture. This review of a recent book on Manson (MANSON - The Life and Times of Charles Manson, by Jeff Guinn)  is a good introduction to his approach in the larger essay that follows:


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For all the effort author Jeff Guinn put into his book MANSON, he never gets beyond the superficial narrative of Manson as a manipulative conman who wanted fame for the sake of fame and a record deal to match. Yet when Geraldo Rivera asked Manson why he was the stuff of a nation's nightmare, Manson himself in his own way tried to tell him that he was a metaphor, a symbol, a mirror of the nation's darkest self. When Rivera asks "So you are going to kill 50 million people?" he is merely looking for a good soundbite that will sell to the viewers. Manson answers him trying to explain "It is a thought. I am reaping the head in thought." He even points to his head to emphasize: "Don't you see what I am saying, The whole world is a thought…" At which point he leaves Rivera utterly confused, as he leaves Guinn, who, like Rivera, knows only the literal narrative and cannot comprehend the metaphor.

Perhaps the best comparison is to Tom Wolf's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, another book that talks about the 60s with ever having been, as Kesey said, "on the bus." Many more people have killed many more innocents more viciously than Manson is accused of. The details of the murders are no more the real issue than is the brutality of Christ's death what makes him Christ. Lots of people got crucified. To understand Manson's role requires putting him into the context not just of the 60s but of the whole of American spiritual history.

Defining Antinomiansim is what the first chapter of the book is about, but we do not have space really to do it justice. Scholars treat the word as if it represented some complex dogma. Instead it is all feeling. To be antinomian means, literally, to be against the law, not just the legal law, but the moral law and social law as well. If you are riding in the woods and get lost, said Emerson, throw down the reins and let the dumb beast under you carry you home.  Like Luke Skywalker's removing his computer connection and going with "the force," to be antinomian is to reject the world of logic and learning and moral codes and social programming and instead follow one's  inner self.  Antinomians reject rules and live only by their own  internal urgings. When the moral, social, legal, political systems we inherit are evil,  antinomian rebels are needed to stand outside  the system, but antinomian rejection of the moral law also leads to anarchy and chaos. As Ken Kesey said, "We need outlaws," but we also need structure, so the antinomian heart is constantly at war  with the logical Arminian head. The head and the heart, the Appolonian and the Dionysian, have been struggling within us since history began.

Manson is a classic antinomian. When Martin Luther revolted against the rational structures of the Catholic Church in 1519, he declared the spirit superior to the law, the inner truth of the individual superior to the collective rational of the institutional church and state. But even then, enthusiastic followers went wild, attacking the establishment and declaring the coming of a new Kingdom on earth. The City of Munster was taken over by these radical spiritualists who set up an early Woodstock and declared the law, all law, even the laws of marriage abolished. Anarchy reigned. In the process, throats were slit.

One hundred years later, in Boston the first governor of Puritan Massachusetts banished Ann Hutchinson, the first American hippie, for the crime of Antinomianism, for declaring that the spirit spoke to her and she would follow the kingdom of Christ not the kingdom of politicians. Winthrop noted as he banished her that such ideas back in Germany had led in the Reformation to the slitting of innocent throats.

The 60s were another outbreak of antinomian excess. Black people as symbols of the primitive dark passion that whites had tried to repress had been kept controlled by segregation. The Civil Rights movement let them out of their cage, and thus symbolically let the repressed id out of its subconscious cage. Throughout white America young people similarly let the id hang out, let the passions flow, followed some mystic inner voice rather than the external law. The world they said, foreshadowing the Merovingian, is an illusion created by those with power. We must break on through to the other side.

This is the spirit that Manson reflected, whether he knew it or not. Nowhere in this new book on Manson does the author make any attempt to actually deal with his words, with his ideas, with what he said that made him so charismatic. The effort is to paint him as manipulative monster, out for sex and fame, and nothing more. But Helter Skelter was not just a ride in a British park, not just a literal rebellion of black people against whites. It was a metaphor, as Ouish once said, of the subconscious (black) mind rising up and overthrowing the rational logical (white) head. It was what happened on acid.

Plenty of evidence is thrown out in Guinn's book with little clear documentation of the author's sources or agenda. But evidence also exists that Manson spun a metaphor based on his reading of Revelations and Revolution 9, which he thought people knew as a metaphor but that they, the girls, and Dumb Tex, took as literal. This is why Manson became the stuff of a nation's nightmares. He is that dark id we also let out when we freed black people from segregation. He symbolizes the black fears we repress in ourselves, hence the swastika on his forehead. We look into those eyes and see our own repressed ids reflected back at us. He is, as he keeps saying, the mirror of our inner self we are afraid to see. This is why Manson will never get out of jail. We need to get that id buried back inside its cage.

I suggest anyone interested in another reading of Manson to check out my chapter on Manson in Searching For God in the Sixties . There the tale is fully told.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Charles Manson is in the Hospital

Many of you already know who Ben Gurecki is. He is a collector of Manson memorabilia, the producer of The Lost Vacaville Tapes, and a personal friend of Charles Manson. He arrived in California this past week with the express purpose of traveling to Corcoran to visit with Charlie who is to celebrate his eightieth birthday this week (November 11 or November 12, depending on who you believe).

On facebook this morning, Ben posted the following: "Charlie is officially in the hospital day #3. Confirmed by guards at visitation check in. Could not get any additional to (sic) information. Well wishes CM!!"

We will bring you more details as they become available.

Photo credit: Stoner Van Houten at "Charlie's Rock," Spahn Ranch, 11/6/2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Forbbiden Chapter in Sanders' Book

Everyone by now likely knows that not long after the first edition of Ed Sanders The Family came out he and his publishers were sued by The Process for writing untrue things about their group and their connection to Charles Manson.  Sanders US publisher settled with The Process.  Any books that had been published in the US but not sold had to have a slip of paper affixed to the front end page saying that anything about The Process in the book was bunk.  And the chapter about The Process and any other references to The Process were removed from subsequent editions of the book.

The case over the forbidden chapter then went to trial in England where The Process was founded and the book was also published.  Ed Sanders British publisher attended the trial but Sanders did not.  The Process lost the case in England and they were ordered to pay the defendant's legal fees. You can get a copy of the trial transcripts from Aes-Nihil if you want to delve into this further.

So, where did Sanders get that story about an "exorcism" of Pussycat by a man named Father P with Charles Manson as a witness to the whole affair, that so ruffled The Process's feathers?  This event was supposed to have taken place at the "Devil House" on Waller Street in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district.  The "Devil House" has alternately been reported as having been The Process's San Francisco headquarters or a building belonging to the Diggers.  No one, to my knowledge, has ever claimed that the Diggers and The Process were connected in any way.  Also, no one has ever been able to definitively say where the "Devil House" was located, only that it was on Waller.

Father P's real name came out in the trial but Pussycat's name did not.  Father P has since passed on but no one has learned the name of Pussycat and therefore the veracity of the story has never been tested.  I learned from Jon Aes-Nihil that both Father P and Pussycat actually did exist.  By some cosmic witchy occurrence Jon met both over New Year's in 1967/8 in Guerneville, yes, that same Guerneville where James Willett was killed! 

I was able to track down the beginnings of the story and the likely source for  the chapter in Sanders book in a January 30, 1970 Berkeley Tribe article.  This article was published a good year before Sanders book.

So, the questions remain, was Charles Manson present at this alleged event, who is Pussycat and where was the "Devil House"?







Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Debra Tate chicken fight of 1976

I do not know the story that goes with these photos. All I know is, Debra Tate, Nastassja Kinski, Arnold Schwartzeneggar, Johnny Crawford, and a mustachioed man of unknown origin were playing in the pool. I will note that the participants in these photos look like they are having a blast! Not everyone can say that they've had topless chicken fights with a guy who became governor of the state of California, right? More power to them. . . . . .







Monday, November 3, 2014

"Commune" (Vogue Magazine, February 1, 1971)

Patty's friend Zachary came up with another beauty for your reading pleasure, this review of a Richard Schechner1971Greenwich Village play called "Commune."

The nine players, remarkably at one, suggest American communal life from the Westward Trek on...

Various themes are suggested, but the main thrust of the work is an effort to connect Charles Manson and his group to the flow of American experience from the beginning...

Our theater is weak in historical images, in the possibility of suggesting the economic, industrial and large social forces. "The changes, the changes man, are what it's all about..."

The people dead in the Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders are...the flowing, free-change able faces of money, fame, celebrity, excitement. The La Biancas, poor victims of a strange randomness, lived amidst their visible properties, properties not altogether grand and unimaginable but just of the comfortable sort even the laziest imagination could believe a spot of luck might bring...

The deaths were not robberies, which are in their distorted way purposeful, but the symbolic way of working out of the deep social yearnings and luxurious needs that now inhabit our psyches along with more primitive forces.

What Commune wishes to suggest, if I understand its images, is the continuity of history that ended in the California murders."