Monday, September 1, 2014

Bigger Than the Beatles (2015)

The story of Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and how he found an intense singer/songwriter who he introduced to Hollywood. This musician was sure that one day he's be a household name. That musician did find fame, but not for his music... because that musician was Charles Manson. This project stems from our short film, "LIE" which was done for the Atlanta History Center and Minnesota Historical Society. The film was reviewed by historians and won the 1968 Film Competition's "Revelation Award" for revealing "unknown" history about what occurred in 1968.


 Thanks, goomba!


The Baby Shower Murders

From orwhut:
I ran across a Youtube video about the Baby Shower Murders. The killers said they staged it so the police would think the killings were committed by Sharon Tate's killers. I couldn't find any other information on the case so, I'm not sure it's not fiction. Here's a link if you're interested and haven't seen it before.
Vintage 8mm home movie video highlights the case of Gayle Merrick, a flower shop owner who was murdered along with four others after her baby shower. Subtitles tell the tale of murder and the mystery of the disappearance of Gayle's baby, which was solved in 2005.


On the 21st November 1969, friends of Gayle Merrick threw a Baby Shower party for her and her newly born daughter Linda. In attendance was Gayle, her husband, baby Linda, and seven (7) other women. As the evening wore on, four of the women had to leave, which was very fortunate for them as the remaining five adults did not survive the rest of the evening.

Gayle Merrick was a florist and horticulturist. She ran her own business, which was appropriately called "Gayle's Flower Shop." Gayle's specialty was growing orchids, an expensive flower indeed but she was so good at growing them that she had won countless awards for them at various flower shows that she had entered. Because she was so good with orchids and the quality was exceptional, she had very little problem in selling them as well.

The video above was the Baby Shower party that was filmed on the evening of the 21st November 1969.

The following morning, a number of Gayle's regular customers arrived at her shop to find that it was closed. This was unheard of and some of the customers began to express their concerns. Ruth Fisher, a regular customer and friend of Gayle's, decided to go to her home to see what was up and make sure that everything was all right.

She found the front door open and walked in as a friend would. What she found caused her to run out of the house screaming hysterically.

The Police arrived to find the scene as Ruth had. It was a ghastly find. Gayle, her husband, and three of the women from the Baby Shower of the previous night were all neatly sat up on the sofa. With their wrists and ankles bound, they each had a pink orchid pinned to their foreheads. In addition to this, their mouths and throats were packed tightly with flower petals, which was the resulting cause of death, suffocation.

Baby Linda was nowhere to be found.

A murder inquiry was launched and fingerprints were recovered from the crime scene that did not belong to any of the victims, and nor did they belong to any of the four women who had left early the previous night. The Police went to Gayle's flower shop and found the place had been vandalized and that a number of expensive orchids had gone missing.

A week later the Police got the break they were waiting for. Margaret Upton, a friend of Gayle's was attending a flower show that was in progress some 20 miles away from the murder scene. Her eye was caught by a display of black orchids that had been entered by Gerald MacDonald and Hubert Kelly. MacDonald and Kelly were rival flower shop owners to Gayle Merrick and the displaying of orchids was nothing out of the ordinary for the two men. What caught Margaret Upton's attention was the fact that the black orchid's were standing in distinctive glass planters that were a mark of Gayle Merrick's flower shop. She immediately alerted the Police.

Fingerprints were taken off the planters. They matched to fingerprints that had been found at the murder scene and both men were arrested and eventually charged with the murders of all five victims.

MacDonald and Kelly's motive for murdering Gayle Merrick was because they had entered countless flower shows and had been beaten in all of them to the top prize by Gayle Merrick. They simply decided that she had to be killed.

When questioned about the bizarre fashion of the murders, MacDonald explained.....

"...to make it look like it was the same people who had killed Sharon Tate and her friends."

He continued....

"Weird killings were becoming popular and we wanted to be part of the action."

While MacDonald was happy to brag about his bloody work, when he was questioned about Baby Linda, he shut up, refusing to speak a single word about her or what had happened to her.

Gerald MacDonald and Hubert Kelly were sentenced to life in prison.

The whereabouts of Baby Linda Merrick was to remain a mystery for the next 36 years.

In July, 2005, Gretchen Barnes was dying. In the last moments of her life she made a death bed confession to her daughter Rachel. In 1969, the year that Rachel was born, a man who she knew as Gerald MacDonald had arrived on her doorstep carrying a new born baby. He had known for some time that Gretchen was desperate for a child of her own, and while he told her nothing of the murders he made it clear that if she didn't look after the child, all that would happen would be that she would go through a life time of care homes and fostering. Gretchen took the child and renamed her Rachel and raised her as her own.

Rachel Barnes was Linda Merrick.

It is certain beyond any doubt that Gretchen Barnes would have known all too well who the child was after the convictions of Gerald MacDonald and Hubert Kelly. Whatever motivated her emotionally, she decided to remain silent. No earthly power would have known anything about Rachel being Linda, but a higher power would know all about it, that was why she chose the time she did to confess everything to her daughter Rachel so she could go to her maker at peace.

Two hours later, Gretchen Barnes died.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Calling all ATWA members!


Can ATWA (Air, Trees, Water, Animals) really make a difference in helping the environment like they claim they can? Well, if that is the case, it would be nice if members that live near the beautiful, majestic, ancient California redwood trees would go down, camp out near these said trees, and catch the people sacks of shit that are destroying these wonderful, living wonders of the world. It seems as if nothing is sacred to the populace anymore. Tooth-less, scab-faced, ugly meth heads have been "creepy crawling" under the cover of darkness, and "hacking" away at these wonderful trees, so they can sell the wood, get their "poor man's cocaine" to get high with while mooching off the government, producing children they'll abuse, and generally being as useful as a cockroach to society. Where is Sandy, Lynette, and the others? Hey, where is Grey Wolf & Star? Hell, those two could don their hooded cloaks, and jump out from behind a bush in the woods, and scare every, single living creature for miles! They wouldn't even need weapons. See what I mean:


If you want to read & watch a short clip about the rest of this sickening story, be my guest. It infuriates me that humans are so destructive & greedy, although nothing surprises me anymore. ATWA members, get out of your parents basement & off the computer for once, and take a break from spewing all that ridiculous "Manson is innocent" bullshit, so you can get busy really trying to make a difference. Get your hooded cloaks ready, and get out there to protect the very thing that makes up part of your acronym!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Road Mangler Deluxe: some footnotes

Here at the Mansonblog, we have already paid much attention to Phil Kaufman's fascinating autobiography (see here and here). Patty finally got around to reading it herself and has a few footnotes that she'd like to add to Matt's report.

In the early 60's, Phil jumped bail for a Mexican drug smuggling charge out of the bordertown of
Sonoita, Mexico. He obtained a fake passport he got with UCLA student and friend Harold True's birth certificate, and actually traveled as True.

He had Hollywood and drug culture contacts long before he was finally caught and ended the last year of a six year sentence at Terminal Island. He had been an extra in movies like "Spartacus" with Kirk Douglas and "Pork Chop Hill" with Gregory Peck. Ram Dass, friend of Tim Leary, sent him LSD in a letter that he ate in its entirety until "paisleys were coming out of (his) ears." Old friend Harold True would bring him "space cakes" as well.

It was at Terminal Island that Phil met Charlie playing guitar in the prison yard. When Charlie was released, Phil introduced Charlie to publicist Gary Stromberg. Stromberg gave an interview to CNN in 2012: "In the 1970s, I ran one of the leading entertainment business public relations firms. Celebrity clients were wildly indulging themselves, accountable to no one. It was money, power and prestige, with no one to say, "That's enough." 

My office, on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, was set up like a huge living room with couches, overstuffed pillows on the floor, rock star posters lining the walls and a coffee table, the centerpiece of which was a large crystal bowl, filled at all times with a generous supply of cocaine. The house rules were "help yourself if you're here on business -- but no take-outs!"...As you could imagine, my office was a very popular place."

Phil left TI in 1968 and still occasionally talks to Charlie in prison: "Charlie occasionally calls me collect and does his Manson rap with a silent "c" if you get my drift" meaning Charlie speaks about biker culture quite a bit, Patty supposes ("Harlie?"). This reminds Patty of something that A.C. once told her: that Charlie was actually a skilled motorcycle mechanic which may have been an "in" for him with the Satan's Slaves?

Of Joshua Tree, Phil remembers that Gram Parsons was introduced to the area by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Phil, Gram, and Michelle Phillips started a film project out there about UFOs that never came to fruition. Gram spent lots of time with the Mamas and the Papas.

These facts are interesting to Patty because they show that the links between Charlie, his associates and The Brotherhood of Eternal Love go way, way back. They predate Charlie's 1967 release by several years and have all the elements that Patty has touched on here: bikers, hollywood royalty, drug smuggling and passport fraud.
If you look for "the truth", it's there. Patty will reiterate, it's NOT Helter Skelter. Helter Skelter was discussed as a concept, but it was NOT what the Family was ultimately about. It was what Bugliosi was about, and history continues to remain on his side because he is seen as "respectable" and "law abiding." It was a tidy little story meant for public consumption because the actual truth was too far out for anyone, much less a jury, to comprehend and convict.


In 1969, there was a huge, powerful infrastructure of
under the table associations that at first accepted Charlie, then rejected him. This criminal subculture had its own laws and believe it or not, Charlie did and still does abide by them, though they are not as well understood in the mainstream as the kind of laws that the government makes for you and Patty to follow. Many of these laws are taught in the California prison system: Stoner Van Houten, who actually has spent time at Corcoran has recently been kind enough to explain some of them to her. The prison culture that Charlie is a part of is a real culture, just like mainstream American culture or any other. Because it is foreign to most of us, it is often misunderstood. But that doesn't make it untrue.

No one likes change, or people who go against the rules of the game as you understand them, including Charlie. After all, he had it made there for a while. If you were an aspiring underworld drug lord, what would you do?


Monday, August 25, 2014

Another VW Bug at Spahn

From blog reader Tim H:

I was scrolling through some older posts the other night catching up. It's been quite a while since I've had time to visit.

The 2014 tour of Spahn had some great pics and Info. The pictures of Mary Brunner's VW got my attention and reminded me of some info that I would like to share.

I visited Spahn ranch a couple years ago with the same enthusiasm as most visitors.

I was walking down below along the base of the small cliff that exists behind the ranch area.

I came across a metal object that was lying  flat against the ground that deserves a closer look.

WOW! Being a mechanic by trade I was pretty sure I was looking at a VW shell, Totally stripped and obviously rolled down into its resting place.

If I were to try to tell you where exactly where this Bug is, I would have to say it's pretty close to where Tex says they stripped and rolled one on page 131 of his book, behind what was the old ranch house (roughly estimated) and down the ridge or ravine.

If you look at the picture of the VW , the front of the vehicle has a circle pressed into the body below where the front hood (or trunk) would have been.


From what I have researched VW bugs did not have this circle embedded in the front apron until the 1968 model, all pre-68 Bugs would not have this circle amongst other small differences in the apron as well.

So the VW in this picture is a 68 or 69 which in the day would have been a brand new car.


Considering the location, condition, and year is it possible that maybe this is the Mary Brunner VW?

I wonder how long the salesman waited on Mary to return?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Genesis P-Orridge and Psychic TV in Manson Tees

Since we are on the topic of The Process, Patty has bumped this one up from our copious archive of drafts. Blog reader Zachary sent in the following interesting tidbit for your viewing pleasure:

"Saw this today, an old shot ('80s) of the band. Genesis P-Orridge pushed the envelope, is pushing it still, now part woman.

We spent time with them in the '90s, went to their shows. He was into Crowley and the occult big-time, and into cultural shock in general. He was also at one time involved with the Process Church of the Final Judgment."

More about Genesis, born Neil Andrew Megson:

In 1969, (s)he joined a British commune where (s)he was forbidden from sleeping in the same place on consecutive nights. Food was cooked at irregular times of the day and all clothing was kept in a communal chest. This was done to throw everyone off of their daily schedule and make them more susceptible to suggestion. (S)he left after three months.

In 1981, (s)he founded Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, which was a cult: TOPY-CHAOS in Australia, TOPYNA in North America and TOPY Station 23 in Europe. Sub-stations called Access Points were located throughout America and Europe. The group focused on psychic phenomena, chaos, atheism, magic and "guiltless sexuality." The musical expression of this cult manifested in the band Psychic TV, which is pictured above with switchblades and Manson tees. The man at far right also has a Process Church symbol on his right shoulder.

Interesting, no?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Manson & Wilson: The Sponging Months....

Good people of Mansonblogland, I picked up a Beach Boy's book at the local library that explained in small detail the way Manson found his way into Dennis Wilson's life. Now, please take this with a grain of salt, and don't bite the messenger's head off. We don't know if this is 100% accurate, but most of us CAN agree that Manson wasn't exactly a model citizen, especially when it came to supporting himself. What he WAS good at, and probably still is, is the art of sponging/mooching off of others. I get a chuckle every time I think of Manson sitting by the pool of Dennis Wilson's house, being fanned by a nude Lynette Fromme, while another young female fed him grapes....all the while bitching about all the "material possessions" Dennis needed to let go of. Of course, Dennis DID get a song out of Manson, and a lot of BUSH, so everyone got something out of the deal! Please allow me to bring you an excerpt from "Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption Of The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson" with all it's weird typos by Peter Ames Carlin:

And even if the Beach Boys seemed determined to drift above the fray, no amount of cheerful harmony could keep the darkness around them from seeping into the sunny little world they continued to imagine in song. For Dennis, the chaos came to call one afternoon in the spring of 1968 when he picked up a couple of cute, young hitchhikers, and brought them back to his house on the western slope of Sunset Boulevard for what he hoped would be a quick three-way, sexual liaison. Indeed, the two young women were more than happy to spend the afternoon rolling around naked with the hunky, young drummer, and a good time was had by all. Later that evening, Dennis came home from a late-night recording session, to discover that the girls had returned, only now they were accompanied by an entire flock of similarly freaked-out girls, and the older man they called their guru: a dark-eyed, raven-haired drifter named Charlie Manson. Manson was even stranger, and less clean than most people Dennis tended to hang around with. But he spoke of brotherhood, and faith, knew where to get good drugs, and had such a hold over his flock of girls that when Charlie told them all to get naked, Dennis's living room became a writhing mass of pink, lithesome, submissive flesh. And for Dennis Wilson, this was all the transcendence he could ever imagine. 



All Charlie asked for in return was a place for him, and his family to live, food, drink, money, and access to everything else Dennis owned. Oh, and also a chance for Charlie to record some of his original music compositions, many of which elucidated his inimitable philosophies on life, love, and the inevitability of social conflict. And for Dennis, who had jumped from adolescence to wealth, and fame without pausing to resolve the emotional toll of growing up in the shadow of Murry (their manager), the situation was just poisonous enough to feel right. Many young, rock stars feel secretly (or not so secretly) guilty for their success, and Dennis experienced guilt with the full-bodied enthusiasm he brought to his various indulgences. He was accustomed to giving away his money, cars, and clothes. Such sacrifices made him happy, so if he could satisfy both his conscience, and his decadence in one, mutually fulfilling relationship with Charlie Manson, that was fine by him, no matter how dirty, and wild-eyed his permanent house guest could be. "Fear is nothing, but awareness, man," Dennis told a reporter from Britain's Rave magazine, going on to explain that he was quoting his friend, the Wizard, whom he described as being terribly wise, and also, at times, quite scary. And he would grow even more so, as the summer of Manson-Family fun went on. 

Dennis brought Charlie up to Brian's house to record on several occasions, and the sessions produced everything from straight-ahead pop songs, to more avant-garde tapes Mike Love described to a Rolling Stone reporter in 1971 as "...chanting, fucking, sucking, barking." It was a million laughs, believe me." Nevertheless, Dennis remained convinced of his pal's musical talent, and took him to the Beverly Hills home of Terry Melcher up on Cielo drive-the same house where Brian had asked Van Dyke Parks to help him write Smile a couple of summers earlier. The producer agreed to give Manson's music a listen. He decided against pursuing the project, however, thereby eliciting Manson's considerable rage. Manson never forgot where Melcher lived, either. And though the object of his hatred would soon move to another part of town, Manson's fury stayed focused on that house on Cielo drive.

Dennis also wandered into Manson's sights by taking one of his songs, "Cease to Exist," smoothing down its bluesy edges, and recording it with the Beach Boys as "Never Learn Not to Love." Reportedly, Manson had written the song specifically for the group, imagining that his vision of love as a soul-consuming act of submission would make them feel better about themselves. "Cease to exist, come and say you love me......Submission is a gift/Go on, give it to your brother," Manson sang in his demo recording of the tune. And he's neither a terrible singer nor a bad songwriter, which may explain Dennis's interest in the guy. Dennis ended up revising the song's words, then removed Manson's name from the song's credit line, an affront Manson used to justify prying several more months' worth of goods and services from his rich friend. 

Dennis eventually grew tired of Manson's parasitic ways, even if he had to move out of his Sunset Boulevard house in order to get the Wizard and family out of his life. Still, Manson's demands on Dennis would continue. And when they weren't satisfied soon enough, he or his minions would make threats, not just on Dennis's life, but also on that of his young stepson, Scott. The fear-slash-awareness would only deepen in the next weeks and months, and not just because Beach Boys, who put "Never Learn Not To Love" on the B-side of their next single, launched Manson's words and music onto the lower reaches of the Billboard charts. Soon the darkness of the age would seem to close in from every direction at the same time. 



A few pages down, the "Manson" part continues:

And as the 1960s drew to a close, the sun-washed optimism the Beach Boys had once given voice to seemed to have been subsumed by the darkness that had always hovered on its fringes. What emerged was a nation that had splintered along every imaginable social fault line: black against white, young against old, rich against poor, students against their universities, women against men, humans against Mother Earth, You say you want a revolution? That's exactly what was going on in 1969, and every day it didn't erupt into bloody, hellish violence was kind of surprising. Then in late July (August, the author seemed to forget) of that year, the Los Angeles police got that call up to the house on Cielo Drive that Terry Melcher had recently moved away from, and what they found-apparently intended for Melcher by its mastermind-was so gruesome, it seemed like that nightmare of violent revolution was becoming real. The facts have been reported so often, and so vividly, it seems pointless to go into it all again. Suffice it to say that Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of Roman Polanski, along with an array of friends, and house guests had been murdered in the bloodiest, most heartless way imaginable. To make things even more lurid, and awful, the murderers had scrawled vaguely revolutionary slogans-two drawn from the titles of recent Beatles songs-on the walls with their victims' blood. ( Austin Ann Notes: I didn't know pig, rise, & death to pigs was the title of any Beatles songs) A prosperous, middle-aged couple who lived nearby, the LaBiancas, were murdered under similarly hellish circumstances the next night. And paranoia in Los Angeles, and everywhere else, ratcheted up to alarming heights. But nowhere more than in the heart of Dennis Wilson, Terry Melcher, and the various friends and associates who had come to know something about Manson's revolutionary fantasies in the last few months. Manson turned up at Dennis's door a day or two after the killings, looking even wilder than usual. ("I been to the moon," he explained when asked what he'd been up to.) Dennis gave him all the money he had on him that night, but not nearly the $1,500 Manson had asked for, which aggravated him to no end. And Manson was even angrier when he returned a week or so later to find that Dennis was up in Canada with the Beach Boys. that time Manson left something for Dennis: a .45-caliber bullet. Dennis, Melcher, and their friends had whispered their suspicions all fall. But it took until mid-November for the authorities to build enough of a case to arrest Manson and his family for the murders. 



Here is the pic CWC sent:




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hooded Snuffoids: Manson and the Satan Freaks


Many of the Mansonistas here in Blogland will probably be familiar with the group known as The Process Church of the Final Judgement. The Process were a 'satanic' cult operating in the US and England during the 60's & 70's, and had originally begun as a splinter group from an English chapter of Scientology. The Process were apparently a fairly infamous sight in California at one point, their black-cloaked members hustling magazines and pamphlets on the streets and operating a number of bars, cafes, and charity agencies decorated with swirling red-and-black psychedelic Satanist paintwork. The Process became even more infamous at the time of Manson's arrest due to their supposed connections to the Family. Schreck and Ed Sanders both tried to link The Process and the Family in their original books, while Bugliosi tried to draw a connection between them as part of his prosecution. Although the evidence connecting the two cults is pretty tenuous, the Process did nothing to help their public image by having two members visit Manson in prison and soliciting Charlie to contribute an article to the 'Death' issue of their magazine 'The Processean'. The article's themes should be pretty familiar to avid Family-watchers, with plenty of 'coming to now' kinda language; a scan of the article can be viewed here. At the end of the day, however, despite worshiping Satan, Lucifer, Christ, and Jehovah (all at once!), the Process were really pretty harmless as far as cults go.

The best source of information on The Process is the 1978 book Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult, by William S. Bainbridge. Satan's Power is a sociological text providing an in-depth analysis of the Process's membership, internal culture, and the development of their theological beliefs. Bainbridge was a sociologist who essentially embedded himself with The Process for a number of years, taking part in rituals, helping sell magazines, and observing and engaging with the Process' charity work and counseling sessions. Due to the linking of The Process and The Family in the public consciousness, Satan's Power goes into some depth in addressing the nature of Family-Process relations and in assessing the impact of the murders and the Family trials on The Process. The Family is first mentioned in the book's introduction ('Conflicting Reports'), and later is covered in more depth in their own section ('The Manson Disaster'). Both of these sections have been written up below, and although their information is never particularly mind-blowing, it is still provides insight on these events from a viewpoint not normally considered- that of the cult itself.

(A Note: the author tried to protect the cult's identity by using aliases. For this reason 'The Process' is always referred to as 'The Power' in the text, and Robert de Grimston is 'Edward de Forest'. I've provided a few annotations here and there in parentheses so this doesn't confuse anyone.)

*********************************************************************************

CONFLICTING REPORTS (pp. 2-3)

Colourful, bizarre, even terrifying, The Power called forth interest as well as antagonism from those who encountered it in the late 1960s. The cult’s striking public performance evoked a variety of metaphors from reporters. Some journalists saw only the most superficial characteristics: “They wear dark space-suits with red Satanic emblems sewn on the chests and are usually accompanied by German-Shepherd dogs.” Others pretended to see far beneath the surface and called the cult “Satan worshippers” and “mind-benders.” One reporter visited the cult and was surprised to discover that Powerites were not really fiends from Hell. “What I found was no secret cult of drug-taking Devil worshippers, but one of the most curious, and curiously attractive, of all the unorthodox religions in America.” Another reporter was impressed by the mysterious ambiguity surrounding The Power. “They have been accused of ritual murder, accused of drinking dog’s blood. While their church services and hierarchy would make a pope proud, their symbols and secrets are a gossip’s playground.”

The Power came to national attention in 1970 and 1971, when journalists publicly charged that it was ultimately responsible for the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders committed by Charles Manson and his followers. Without any good evidence, they wrote that Manson had been a member of The Power and indoctrinated in Satanism by it. The prosecutor in the Manson case said a direct connection with The Power could not be proved, but he felt the ideologies and structures of The Manson Family and The Power were so similar that some connection was quite likely. One journalist reported that The Power was extremely deviant sexually. He explained its success with converts as the natural result of this deviance:
The Power, as did Manson, employs sexual excesses as a means by which to shake loose any influence society may still hold over the initiates. Both groups practice communal living and indiscriminate sexual relations among members… Savage and indiscriminate sex is forced on the entrants into the cult not as a means of religious communion but as a means of purging the initiates of any residue of Grey Forces [conventionality] that might be latent in them. Sex is a means of cutting members off from the outside and subjecting them to the will of the group, or the wills of the group leaders.
My years studying The Power convinced me that the specific claims of wickedness made by some outsiders were false, but that a quasi-sociological hypothesis hidden behind these stories was correct. I found no actual connection between Manson’s murders and The Power. “Savage and indiscriminate sex” was not forced on new recruits. The Power was, however, a closed social universe created and maintained by intensive emotional interaction between participants. In this it resembles the Manson Family or any other small sect or deviant subculture embodied in a specific social group. Powerites often spoke of “sexual energy” as the glue that held them together, referring not to orgiastic group experiences but simply to intense bonds of positive feeling that tied members together in a strong, closed social network.

THE MANSON DISASTER (pp. 119-124)

In August 1969, Charles Manson led his ragtag “dune buggy attack battalion” in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six other persons. The California police arrested Manson in November, and very soon a rumor began that Manson’s sinister group was an offshoot of The Power. A Los Angeles radio station telephoned the London Chapter of The Power asking if the rumor were true. When Cain and Lilith were scouting out the American territory early in 1970, they were both worried and attracted by the idea that Manson was a schismatic Powerite. Manson was one of the reasons the pair drove out to Los Angeles. Lilith says, “I got a real wild idea in my head and decided we should go off to California and check out Charles Manson and what was happening out there. ‘Cause we had just been pointed out as being involved in these strange ritual murders.” I asked her if there were any real connection between Manson and The Power. “None. None whatsoever!” Had he ever come to a meeting? “No. None of us had ever met him, heard of him. None of us recognised him when we saw pictures of him. If he had any contact with us – which he may have done, he may have spoken to someone on the streets who was selling magazines – it would have been a very brief contact which whoever it was didn’t even remember. And I have the feeling that he never actually spoke to any of us.” This is exactly the response I got from other knowledgeable Powerites.

The Manson murders were a public relations disaster for the widespread youth counterculture of the late 1960s. Many Americans were quick to believe that Manson accurately represented the counterculture. A counterculture reporter recalls reading the news reports about the murders with a friend. They agreed “We are in trouble.” They knew they and other harmless deviants would suffer guilt by association in the public mind. “Neither of us rushed out to shave and get a haircut, of course, but when, a few months later, long-haired, bearded Charles Manson (ballyhooed throughout the press as the leader of a tribe of “hippies”) was arrested for the crime, I began to wish I had. For a time it seemed as though every freak in the country was on trial, as the media made no attempt to distinguish between the drug-crazed, hairy beast called Manson and every other drug-crazed, hairy beast walking around.”

Vincent Bugliosi, prosecutor in the Manson case, could never quite decide what kind of link there was between the Manson Family and The Power. Certainly, he never attempted to bring any Powerite to court. Bugliosi notes several parallels between the Manson Family and The Power, and says, “They are enough to convince me, at least, that even if Manson himself may never have been a member of The Power, he borrowed heavily from the satanic cult.” Bugliosi conjectured at length:
I’m inclined to think that Manson’s contact with the group probably occurred in San Francisco in 1967, as indicated, at a time when his philosophy was still being formulated. I believe there was at least some contact, in view of the many parallels between Manson’s teachings and those of The Power as revealed in their literature.
 Both preached an imminent, violent Armageddon, in which all but the chosen few would be destroyed. Both found the basis for this in the Book of Revelation. Both conceived that motorcycle gangs, such as Hell’s Angels, would be the troops of the last days. And both actively sought to solicit them to their side.
In 1971, Father Adam, then head of the Boston Chapter [of The Power], admitted his feelings to a newspaper reporter. “Manson had obviously got hold of some of our ideas from somewhere and had taken and distorted them in a particular way. It is unfortunate. If we had had the opportunity to speak to him, we could have avoided that series of very brutal killings.” I rather think Father Adam had been swept along by the press reports, just as many other readers were. The ideas common to The Power and Manson’s group are not at all that unique. Other “satanic” cults existed, most notably Anton Szandor LaVey’s Church of Satan that has lurked and performed in San Francisco for years. Surely the Book of Revelation is available for anyone ready to open a Bible. To the extent that both groups were socially isolated, introverted, millenarian cults that arose in Christian nations at the time of the youth counterculture, we would expect them to have some of the same characteristics, even if they differed absolutely in their practices concerning violence. But some of the more bombastic, rhetorical passages in Power literature do sound like Mansonian proclamations. The Gods on War, completed by Edward [de Forest] in August 1967, announces, “The final march of doom has begun. The earth is prepared for ultimate devastation. The mighty engines of WAR are all aligned and brought together for the End. The scene is set.” This stormy book, packed with pictures of war, contains three long essays attributed to the Gods Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan. In each, one of the Gods expresses His orientation toward war. Each essay is really a character study of one of the Gods. The book assumes that destruction is coming, that the world has entered into the Latter Days, and seeks to take rhetorical advantage of all the powerful images of war provided by press coverage of recent conflicts. In a passage most Mansonian in mood, the Lord Satan advises the reader to participate fully in the holocaust:
Release the Fiend that lies dormant within you, for he is strong and ruthless, and his power is far beyond the bounds of human frailty.
Come forth in your savage might, rampant with the lust of battle, tense and quivering with the urge to strike, to smash, to split asunder all that seek to detain you. And cast your eye upon the land before you. Choose what road of slaughter and violation you will follow. Then stride out upon the land and amongst the people.
Rape with the crushing force of your virility; kill with the devastating precision of your sword arm; maim with the ruthless ingenuity of your pitiless cruelty; destroy with the overpowering fury of your bestial strength; lay waste with the all-encompassing majesty of your power…
For the world can be yours, and the blood of men can be yours to spill as you please. And you can have your pleasure of the world through violence and the wielding of the sword. And your lust can stride upon the face of the land, taking whatever it desires, and discarding the empty husks when you’ve sucked them dry.
This is pure rhetoric, bombast meant to arouse the emotions and make The Power look intense, formidable, unusual. No real Powerite I knew ever made the mistake of thinking these words were commandments that required action. Father Adam once told a reporter, “Very satanic members find it difficult to fit into the church. They cannot live as Inside Powerites.” The cult did attract some violent young men, but they seldom stayed with it for long and almost never became inner members.

Stung but interested by the alleged tie to Manson, The Power sent two leading members out to California, where they spoke with Bugliosi and Manson. They told the prosecutor they were innocent but apparently did not completely convince him. Manson was not helpful to the cult’s cause. During the murder trial, Bugliosi asked him if he knew Edward Jones, also called Edward de Forest [the author here is referring to Robert de Grimston, head of The Process –Vermouth]. Manson said he did not know de Forest, but claimed he did know Jones: “You’re looking at him.” Another time he said, “Jones and I are one and the same.” This was pure mystification.

The Death issue of the Power magazine, which came out in 1971, did not help the cult’s image. News reporters noted it contained a brief article by Charles Manson, “written especially for The Power.” Manson describes death as “Total awareness, closing the circle, bringing the soul to now. Ceasing to be, to become a world within yourself. Locked in your own totalness.” Calling death “peace from this world’s madness and paradise in my own self,” he identifies it with isolation from the world, from outer reality, an isolation created by his own madness and developed through the social autarchy of his cult. Death – the ultimate in social implosion.

Other rumors circulated, linking The Power to heinous, inexplicable events. For the last few years, reports of animal mutilations have come from several sections of the country. Cattle or wild animals are found cut to pieces, their carcasses lying ripped on hillsides, far away from human settlements. Rumors about these mutilations have spread and evolved, an interesting example of collective behaviour and the collective development of myth.

Some reporters spread the tale that a sinister satanic cult called The Xtul Group was responsible for all these animal mutilations. Of course, the Xtul Group is meant to be The Power. It was not in fact responsible. From its very beginning, the cult has been antivivisectionist. [The author relates earlier in the book how a key experience leading to the cult’s formation happened to members at Xtul, Mexico – Vermouth]

The very last straw was an assault on The Power by Ed Sanders, former leader of The Fugs (a rock band) and literary light of the counterculture. At the end of 1971, he published a series of magazine articles, and then a book, about the Manson murders. He devoted an entire chapter to The Power, saying it was an important “sleazo input which warped the mind of Charles Manson.” Sanders called Powerites “hooded snuffoids,” and described the cult as “The black-caped, black-garbed, death-worshipping Power Church.” He said it was “an English occult society dedicated to observing and aiding the end of the world by stirring up murder, violence and chaos, and dedicated to the proposition that they, the Power, shall survive the gore as the chosen people.” His chapter on the cult was a stew of information, misinformation, and hate.

In quick response to Sanders’ attack, The Power went to court, lodging a libel suit for $1,500,000 against the book and another one for $1,250,000 against the magazine article. The book publisher, E.P. Dutton, said “The book was carefully checked by our attorneys and speaks for itself.” A public relations lady hired by The Power pointed to “false and defamatory material” published by Sanders, “statements that Powerites were linked with the Manson family prior to the murder of Sharon Tate and that a Power member opened the kitchen door to Sirhan Sirhan shortly before he murdered Senator Robert F. Kennedy.” She also accused Sanders of claiming The Power enjoyed “eulogizing Hitler, sacrificing humans and animals and then drinking their blood, sex orgies, kidnapping, and loving dope.”

In public statements, cult leaders tried to convince reporters that this horrendous smorgasbord of disgusting satanic delights was fantasy. Father Adam asserted, “We don’t have orgies; we don’t practice cannibalism; we don’t sacrifice animals; we don’t drink blood; we don’t practice magic rituals or put curses on people or say the Lord’s Prayer backwards.” But the story was impossible to stop. The New York Times described the reception that Powerites often received on the streets. “‘Are you devil worshipers?’ ask the very curious. Others, less curious than angry, make rude remarks.” At this time almost all the income of the cult was derived from street begging. The Power was struggling to project the most bland, appealing, innocent religious image so that people would be inclined to contribute to their “church.” Sanders’ publicity about Manson threatened financial disaster and endangered the very economic survival of The Power.

The Power’s trouble extended to the Toronto Chapter. The cult had received $23,049 from the Ottawa government under the Local Initiatives Programme. This money was to be given to young people hired through the church to do social service work. The group contends that all the money was properly spent and that church money went into the projects as well. In March 1972, a newspaper, The Toronto Sun, attacked the program by denouncing the “Satanists” who had run off with public money. Prime Minister Trudeau was drawn into this controversy on a radio talk show. As The Power tells the story, all ended well, with an outpouring of friendly statements from civic leaders and knowledgeable reporters drowning the negative “Satanist” comments.

Sanders’ publishers decided to settle the libel case out of court. The book company undoubtedly wanted to sell thousands of copies and was anxious to come to a fast settlement. In a press release issued March 8, 1972, Dutton said, “A close examination has revealed that statements in the book about The Power Church, including those attributing any connection between The Power and the activities of Charles Manson, accused and convicted murderer, have not been substantiated.” Dutton agreed to remove all references to the cult from future editions and to join with it in announcing a cooperative end to the lawsuit. Writing in an open letter as the spokesman for The Power, Father Adam said, “We are satisfied that the actions being taken by Dutton, the publishers of the book, and Ed Sanders, the author, constitute suitable vindication of the Church.” On the third of April, a parallel settlement was announced with the editors of the magazine that had printed Sanders’ articles. They were able to get out from under the suit against them by publishing excerpts from the press release issued by Dutton. The cult got no money from either publisher. In a meek attempt to assert its new, clean image, the cult inserted the following self-description in the press release: “The Power is a religious organisation devoted to spreading the work of Christ.”

The cult also sued the English publisher of Sanders’ book, and there the outcome was quite different. The case actually went to court, and a verdict was rendered in March 1974. The Power lost! Their case against Sanders and the English publisher was dismissed, and the cult was ordered to pay court costs. Of course, this does not mean that Sanders’ statements about The Power were true.

The Power was not responsible for Manson, but the controversy had a tremendous impact on the cult. Already committed to making peace with conventional society, already completely dependent on the good will of conventional society for its economic life, The Power was spurred to even greater attempts to clean up its image and downplay the Satanic aspect of its doctrines. St. Peter denied Christ and suffered for it; The Power would deny Satan and also suffer. To escape the dark halo of Satan, it would compulsively overfulfill the demands of Christ. To gain public support, it would first hide, then later abandon some of its most precious symbols and concepts, leaving a gnawing cultural void. Without Satan, what would distinguish The Power from all other religions?




Sunday, August 17, 2014

Patti D'Arbanville admits to having slept with Charles Manson

From today's blog, one of the "Blind Items Revealed":
I was doing some research on a film from back in the day that has come up a few times in the past week. It has come up because the star of the film has some other projects she is plugging now and a lot of the old stories about the movie are resurfacing. There will be a blind about that movie next week. while doing the research though, I saw one of my favorites in the cast list and clicked on her name to see what she is up to now. When I clicked, I had to blink a couple of times because I thought to myself that couldn't be right. She would never do that. It turns out she would. She is an actress who has literally been around forever, but never looks old. She is considered a mostly television actress and had a nice long run on a hit cable television show that ended not that long ago. She is known though for something much more important in history. I consider her to be the first "it girl." The first time that term may have been used. That is a big honor. Anyway, she has a secret that she only shared with a few people who got drunk with her back in the day in the club that will never be duplicated. She says she had sex with one of the most infamous people in history. She had so many details that no one left an encounter with her doubting her story. As far as I know she has not mentioned it to anyone in decades and my source from that club who was there every night and is still friends with her today says she never mentions it. She is afraid of the damage it might cause her career now. So, that is what makes what she is doing now, so damn interesting.



This aricle gives a timeline of when she was in california in early '68 - late '68 - '69:

Excerpt from an interview with Patti D'Arbanville by Bob Colacello from the April 1973 issue of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine:

"Patti D'Arbanville is a young actress who has appeared in three films to date: Flesh, L'Amour and La Maison, which was a critical and commercial success in France. She has been through the pop hippy scene in New York and California, the rock groupie scene in London, the chic ready to wear scene in Paris, always travelling fast and light. Now she is back home in New York, waiting."

Bob Colacello [turning on the tape recorder]: It's on. Talk.

Patti D'Arbanville: Well, I just got back from my ballet class... (phone rings)... Hi, Candy... Taking an interview... How's your play doing?... Did you get kicked out of it or did it close?... Oh, well, keep the faith... You're going to do nightclubs?... In New York or the Catskills?... How'd you get that together?... That's always it, being in the right place at the right time... Okay... Bye. You know, when I get in front of a camera I really feel fantastic. The only thing is when I'm in improvised films I just tend to overact because there's no real direction... There's such freedom in something like L'Amour that I just run wild. I mean, at times I was just foaming at the mouth. I haven't seen the film, just some rushes of me in the bathtub, and I was quiet for a change. But I just love being in front of the camera... The last time that I was on stage was in the fourth grade... Oh, wait, I know: I never did a play but I did this fantastic fashion show for Ossie Clark in London. He made these fantastic clothes for me. Amanda [Lear] was in it. She's supposed to be a sex change but I don't believe it... Anyway she had on this fantastic g-string and was running around pulling up her dress... It was at the Royal Court Theatre and it was my birthday and I was really fantastic.. That's my only stage experience since fouth grade but it was pretty good...

I went to PS 41 on Eleventh Street. I grew up on Bleecker and Macdougal. The Figaro was right across the street. One time I asked my mother if I could stay out until midnight, and I was sure she'd say no, but she said, 'Well, of course, it's only across the street.' So I used to stay out every night until midnight, then it got to one. I would fall asleep at school. I couldn't stand it. So I quit... I was fourteen when I quit. I stuck it out for two years afer I started going out, but when they started telling me they were going to take me away from my parents if I didn't come to school more often, I had it...

Then I started going to Ondine. That's the club Jerry Schatzberg had with what's his name, the French guy that owns Hippopotamus now, Olivier Coquelin. The first time I went there I was fourteen and I had identification that said I was 18. Of course, nobody believed me, but I had such balls they let me in.

Then I decided to go to California and I left with these two girls and my best girlfriend who was pregnant. We had spent all the money for her abortion on mescaline and spent three nights in a hotel with some boys freaked out on mescaline. We got $1,000 for the abortion by going up to this guy in Ondine and asking him for it. He wrote out a check right there and the next day we went down to his bank on Wall Street and got the money. Then we drove across the States in a four-cylinder mustang. With my girlfriend pregnant and these two strange girls who turn out to be dykes. We fought all the way there over whether the window should be open or shut. I ended up hitting my girlfriend and she threatened to stab me, so I left. I went to live with this guy named Stanley who was some creep who lived right across the street from Harlow's house in Beverly Hills. I stayed for two months and went back to New York and went to Max's a lot with my girlfriend who had by this time had her baby and gave it away. I made Flesh then, I think. Then I went back to California, back to New York.

Then Bert Stern took me to Paris to do the collections. From there I went to London and stayed at Donald Cammell's house for a couple of months. I loved London, the whole scene there. Then I went to Paris to make this movie called La Maison, with Michel Simon... I should've gotten an agent then, but all I wanted to do was get to London and spend all my money, which I did.

Then I went to Hollywood to do a movie with Nic Roeg, who had made a name for himself with Performance and Walkabout. It was called Deadly Honeymoon... but it didn't work out. Jim Aubrey didn't like what Nick had done to the script or something, and Nic wouldn't do it any way but his own...

I just have to be by myself for awhile to do what I want to do. It's good to be alone sometimes. Look, Steven wrote that song [Lady D'Arbanville by Cat Stevens] when I left for New York. I left for a month, it wasn't the end of the world was it? But he wrote this whole song about 'Lady D'Arbanville, why do you sleep so still.' It's about me dead. So while I was in New York, for him it was like I was lying in a coffin... he wrote that because he missed me, because he was down... It's a sad song.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cappy


2014
Well this answers that question. The "X" is clearly visible...
Big hat tip to Candy and Nuts!


1970



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Duluth News Tribune Articles on Vincent Bugliosi

These two articles are from the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota, local to Bugliosi's birthplace in Hibbing. Both recently ran on separate days  Well worth the read.

Thank you, Candy and Nuts!

----------

Hibbing native Bugliosi, famous for prosecuting Manson, has his own struggle
By Rick Weegman on Aug 9, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

Vince Bugliosi, famed author and prosecutor in the Charles Manson case
more than 40 years ago, sits in his Pasadena, Calif., home on July 26.
Bugliosi, a native of Hibbing, is recovering after cancer surgery
and pneumonia sent his body into septic shock.
(Sarah Reingewirtz / Pasadena Star-News)


LOS ANGELES — Vince Bugliosi's determination and zeal in prosecuting Charles Manson and four members of his cult led to convictions in the so-called "Crime of the Century," while a 20-year dedication to solving the John F. Kennedy assassination led to writing what many consider to be the definitive book on the presidential slaying.

But the Hibbing native and famed trial lawyer has faced an even more dogged foe in recent years and is just now beginning to win that battle.

Until a little more than two years ago, Bugliosi, who turns 80 on Aug. 18, considered himself to be in the top 1 percent healthwise for people his age.

But after colorectal cancer surgery and a bout of pneumonia, his body went into septic shock that nearly claimed his life.

"I had never even been on a medication in my life, and a couple days later I was almost dead," Bugliosi said earlier this year from his home in Pasadena, Calif. "I literally flat-lined and they brought me back. The word ‘miracle' is constantly used by doctors at Kaiser Hospital that I'm alive."

The man who won a Minnesota high school state tennis championship as a Hibbing junior in 1951 was unconscious for 70 days, spent seven months at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles and three more months at a rehabilitation center. His weight plummeted from 165 to 112 pounds.

Septic shock is a medical condition that can cause multiple organ failure and is fatal in about 40 percent of adult cases.

Bugliosi (pronounced bool-YOH-see) said his condition deteriorated so much that family members were notified to prepare for the worst.

"The doctors had concluded that I was going to die," he said. "One morning they called my wife (Gail) and said, ‘You better hurry down here because your husband is dying.' It was a fait accompli that I was going to die. One of the doctors said, ‘There's only one other option: We can try putting him on an infant respirator, but it's never worked with adults before.'

"For whatever reason — I joke that it's because I have the mind of an infant — they put me on the respirator and, little by little, I came out of it."

Believed now to be cancer-free, Bugliosi has yet to return to his former athletic self. He completely lost the hearing in his left ear and about half of the hearing in his right ear. His kidneys stopped functioning, and he undergoes 3½-hour dialysis sessions three days a week that leave him drained.

"If I went off dialysis, I'd live a week and a half, two weeks and flat-out die," he said.

Bugliosi tries to walk every day for about half an hour but struggles to keep the same positive attitude he was noted for having when arguing cases in front of a jury.

"I don't know if I have the same dedication to beating this thing," he said. "When you are in the hospital for almost a year, you start wondering, ‘Am I ever going to get out of here?' You lose a little bit of your spirit, but I never lost all of it. I kept fighting, but probably not as much as one might expect of someone like me. I did whatever was necessary, but not much more.

"Someone else in the rehab center had septic shock and he couldn't talk because his mind was shot. I said to myself, ‘I still have my mind.' If you lose your mind, you're no longer the same person. I think my brain is still intact, and therefore I am the same person."

Bugliosi hasn't lost his sharp wit, his memory of cases past nor his upbringing in Hibbing, much of which he detailed in a recent four-hour conversation.

Tennis prowess led Bugliosi to California

Nobody could have predicted when a teenage Bugliosi left Hibbing for southern California that, less than 20 years later, he'd make national headlines for prosecuting Manson and his followers for the savage killing of actress Sharon Tate and six others in a two-night terror spree across Los Angeles.

The youngest of Italian immigrants Vincent and Ida Bugliosi's five children, Vincent Jr. was born Aug. 18, 1934, and grew up across the street from the Hibbing Memorial Building. His father owned a grocery store before becoming a brakeman for the Great Northern Railroad, while his mother was a homemaker.

Growing up without a television in a town of about 16,000, Bugliosi, like many youngsters, couldn't comprehend the large scope of the world that's taken for granted nowadays.

"The biggest town in the country or world was Minneapolis," he recalled. "Nobody talked about Chicago, New York or L.A. If you went to Minneapolis, you were going to the biggest city anywhere. Going to Duluth was going to a big town, and going to Minneapolis was like going to the capital of the world."

Bugliosi said he played sandlot football and baseball in the summer and was a basketball player in the winter. But tennis became his favorite sport because he had to work hard at it.

"Tennis was a challenge to me because it didn't come naturally," he said.

Hibbing only had outdoor clay tennis courts at the time, meaning it was impossible to play the sport year-round. Bugliosi spent much of the time hitting a ball against an outside wall of the Memorial Building, an odd sight that people remember to this day.

"At that time, on the southeast corner of the Memorial Building, there was a tall wall, about 12, 15 feet wide and maybe 20 feet high," said Jack Petrosky, a 1952 Hibbing graduate who played on the Bluejackets' state championship hockey team that year and was a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic team that took silver in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. "He used to bat the tennis ball off the wall so it would come right back to him and he could hit it again. You never knew quite where it was coming back depending on how he spun it. He spent a lot of time doing that."

Bugliosi twice won regional high school championships in Duluth, even beating legendary hockey great John Mayasich of Eveleth along the way.

As a sophomore at the 1950 state tournament at the University of Minnesota, in between the morning semifinals and afternoon finals, Bugliosi walked close to a mile to have lunch at the campus cafeteria. He developed chills in the meantime and lost to David Ranthum of Rochester, Minn., in the finals.

"He probably would have beaten me anyway, but certainly I shouldn't have walked a mile and filled myself up with pie," he said laughing.

The following year, Bugliosi beat Ranthum in the semifinals and defeated Bob Reid, another Rochester athlete, in the finals. It took until 2002 when Duluth Marshall's Pete Torgrimson won in Class A for another Northeastern Minnesota player to win a state singles title.

But Bugliosi didn't stick around to try and defend his title. Long before transferring schools because of athletics came into vogue, Bugliosi left Hibbing and transferred to Hollywood High School in Los Angeles to spend more time on the court.

The elder Bugliosi didn't work on the Great Northern during the winter, and two of his older sons lived in the Los Angeles area, so the family packed up and moved. Tennis became young Vince's priority.

That dedication led to a partial tennis scholarship at the University of Miami.

Bugliosi's biggest success while in Miami came when he pushed Gardnar Mulloy, then the top-ranked U.S. player and a former coach at Miami, to five sets. The youngster won two of the first three sets before conceding the final two.

But Bugliosi must have earned admiration from Mulloy, who went on to win 125 national tournaments, because it was the now 100-year-old Mulloy who helped his pupil land a job at Henderson Park, then the main tennis facility in Miami. Bugliosi served as an assistant to the pro and lived in the back room, but working 70 hours per week there meant he had to leave the college tennis team.

Two other important, life-changing events came out of Henderson Park: Bugliosi met Gail Talluto, 58 years ago and credits with keeping him in line through the years, and he narrowed his career choice via process of elimination.

"I didn't have much of an interest in law school," he said. "But I don't like blood, so that knocked out being a doctor. I'm not good at mathematics, so that knocked out engineering. I can talk to a jury where you have a captive audience, but if I were a salesman and made a pitch and the person said, ‘No,' I would immediately turn around and leave. The reason why law appealed to me is that there was an emphasis on words. The whole purpose of speech is communication."

So after a stay at infantry officer's training corps at Fort Benning, Ga., where he reached the rank of captain in the U.S. Army, it was back to southern California to enter UCLA Law School.

That started the wheels in motion for what would become Bugliosi's shining moment as a prosecutor and a time when he would be inextricably linked to a madman for the ages.


-----------------------------------------------------------

For Bugliosi, Oswald 'trial' began 21-year journey
By Rick Weegman on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:50 p.m.


Hibbing native Vince Bugliosi, famed author and prosecutor
in the Charles Manson case, stands outside his Pasadena,
Calif., home on July 26.
(Sarah Reingewirtz / Pasadena Star-News)
LOS ANGELES — The first time producers from Showtime and London Weekend Television called Vince Bugliosi to ask him to prosecute Lee Harvey Oswald for President John F. Kennedy's assassination in a made-for-TV trial, the Hibbing native declined.

"I said, 'I'm flattered but not interested,' " he recalled of the 1986 conversation.

But when Bugliosi learned famed defense attorney Gerry Spence would be handling Oswald's defense, no script would be used in the 21 hours of filming, actual witnesses from the 1963 killing in Dallas' Dealey Plaza would be called to the stand in London and he would be able to argue his point to an impartial American jury, he quickly changed his tune.

For several months, Bugliosi threw himself into the case with the same fervor he had done years earlier when prosecuting Charles Manson for the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in one of the nation's most publicized, lengthiest and costliest trials.

"Spence and I both worked on this case as hard as any other murder case in our respective careers," Bugliosi said recently from his home in Pasadena, Calif. "I'm known as a fighter and competitive in the courtroom. But he took me to levels I wouldn't have even dreamed about because he wanted to win that case."

The trial culminated with the jury finding, as the Warren Commission did 22 years earlier, that Oswald had acted alone.

"Like Time magazine said, that was the closest to a real prosecution that Oswald will ever have," Bugliosi said.

Even Spence, the white-haired, buckskin-clad lawyer who claims on his website to never have lost a criminal or civil case, expressed admiration for his adversary's prosecutorial skill by once remarking to the media: "No other lawyer in America could have done what Vince did in this case."

Spence, via email, declined comment for this story.

While Bugliosi's efforts at the trial largely became just a footnote in the vast expanse of Kennedy assassination literature, the gears began to turn in the UCLA Law School graduate's brain.

In the decades after the assassination, a majority of Americans polled believed in a conspiracy, and many thought Oswald was framed and murdered by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby as part of a cover-up. If the facts were presented in such a way that pointed directly at Oswald and conspiracy theories were thoroughly refuted, Bugliosi believed he could sway public opinion in a manner that the Warren Commission never accomplished.

"When I got into the case, I saw all these conspiracy theories were pure moonshine and Oswald was as guilty as sin," Bugliosi said. "At that point, a majority of Americans agreed with the conspiracy theorists. So I said, 'I have to write a book on this.' "

The result, 21 years later, was the release of "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy," a massive, 1,632-page, 1.5-million word tome (with an additional 10,000 citations on CD) that points the finger squarely at Oswald, a la the Warren Report, and debunks all conspiracy theories in point-by-point detail.

While the book received rave critical reviews, some calling it the final word on the assassination, it did not register at the cash register. Bugliosi calls it his biggest regret as an author.

"I'm proud of the book, but it obviously did not receive the attention because no one wants books like that," he lamented. "When I write a book, my primary motivation is always to write something I can be proud of. That's the main thing on my mind. Secondly, I want to make money to feed the family.

"My wife kept telling me, 'Stop writing that book. You're killing the sales of the book.' People don't buy books that you have to be a weightlifter to pick up. It was selling for $80, plus tax. Nobody buys books like that. All my other true-crime books were bestsellers and this book did not sell well. That's bothered me because I worked on it for 20 years."

The book sold about 40,000 copies, far shy of the total sales of Bugliosi's other books for W.W. Norton Publishers. While Starling Lawrence, Bugliosi's publisher at Norton, says it would have been a better business decision to have an abridged version, that wasn't what the headstrong author wanted to hear.

"He likes to say it's my fault because I let him do it," Lawrence said by phone from New York. "It just means that I wasn't able to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. I had ideas on that book that might have worked if I wasn't dealing with Vince Bugliosi. There were ways that book could have been made shorter and more commercial.

"But you have to give a guy enough rope to hang himself. This was absolutely the book that he wanted to write. I certainly suggested how we would go about it otherwise."

Lawrence said the narrative account of "Reclaiming History," which was turned into a paperback, "Four Days in November," was powerful enough by itself to persuade the general public about Oswald's guilt.

But Lawrence said Bugliosi wanted to "methodically destroy every last conspiracy theory, like shooting the ducks in a shooting gallery. And not only destroy them, but back the truck over them.

"That's Vince's rhetorical style of calling them an idiot and then calling them an a———. I'm probably wrong, but I thought Vince could have been more persuasive on the page if he hadn't been quite been so destructive and punitive to his opponents."

Authored books on simpson, George W. Bush and God

While he originally wrote books about cases he was involved in, Bugliosi eventually turned his attention to writing about the big stories of the day.

That's how he became involved in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which in 1995 came in the middle of his research for the Kennedy book. At first, Bugliosi rebuffed Lawrence's inquiries into writing a book about the trial, which ended famously with the former NFL star acquitted of the ghastly murders of his ex-wife and a friend.

"I kept getting messages from the sales department: 'Don't take no for an answer,' " Lawrence said. "If you can imagine, not taking no for an answer from Vince is probably worth your life. But Vince wrote a terrific book, probably the go-to-book on that subject.

"I don't remember where he was in the Kennedy book, but it was something like 20 years overdue so we were only asking him to do something that would be a short detour from the Kennedy book. The Kennedy assassination was always going to be there."

The Simpson book — "Outrage: Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder" — was a bestseller and left no doubt where Bugliosi pointed the blame: in the same prosecutor's office he used to call his workplace.

For a while, Bugliosi, who says he didn't follow the proceedings while they happened, kept copies of articles on the case from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Time and Newsweek in the small chance he would be appointed special prosecutor if a hung jury had been declared.

"I would have loved to prosecute (Simpson) and he would not have walked out of that courtroom (a free man)," Bugliosi said. "At the minimum, it would have been a hung jury. I've often said that there was mind-boggling incompetence (on the part of the prosecution)."

Before his book, Bugliosi says few blamed the prosecution for the not guilty verdict. But he pointed out that the prosecution was more to blame than the jury.

"It was such an enormously big case — the whole country was watching it," he said. "It was an enormous miscarriage of justice, one of the darkest chapters in American jurisprudence history."

With a hand in the Manson, Kennedy and Simpson cases, Bugliosi appeared content to continue venturing into dark chapters of Americana.

"The three biggest murder cases of the last 50 years, I'm intimately involved with," he said. "I don't know anyone else out there who is intimately involved with those three cases."

Bugliosi says he was offered a million dollars to write a book on Jon Benet Ramsey (he declined), though he didn't need the promise of a hefty paycheck to take a stab at the United States Supreme Court when he wrote "Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President" in 2001, in response to the Bush v. Gore presidential election the year before.

After the court decision that allowed George W. Bush to retain Florida's electoral votes and win the election over Al Gore, he stayed up into the middle of the night and hammered out a 2,500-word essay in a "state of rage" — no small feat considering Bugliosi never has owned a computer and insists on writing everything down on a yellow legal pad. The next day he called Nation magazine publisher Victor Navasky and beseeched him to run his article.

"He said, 'Try to keep it under 3,500 words.' I said, 'Victor, I can't say hello in 3,500 words,' " Bugliosi recalls. "I wrote 7,500 words and they published it and, according to them, they got the biggest response in the history of the Nation, which dates all the way back to the end of the Civil War in 1865."

Since releasing his massive book on Kennedy, he has written about prosecuting President George W. Bush for murder in regard to going to war with Iraq without finding so-called weapons of mass destruction and he revealed his agnostic views in "Divinity of Doubt: The God Question," a book which received scathing reviews from the Catholic Church.

But it's in regard to Manson and Kennedy where Bugliosi remains a favorite for television talking heads.

"For the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, I think I was on TV more than any other person," he said.

Once a Ranger, always a Ranger

A Boston Globe reporter once commented to Bugliosi about the unusually high number of famous residents from his hometown, considering Hibbing's population has remained at about 16,000 for the better part of 90 years.

NBA player Kevin McHale, former Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich, former single-season home run king Roger Maris and Jeno Paulucci, the late frozen-foods magnate, all were born there, while folk singing icon Bob Dylan moved there from Duluth as a youth.

Though Bugliosi plays down the notion that his likeness would be included on a Hibbing Mount Rushmore, he says that being 63 years removed from his hometown doesn't mean he doesn't still consider himself an Iron Ranger.

"I still feel very close to the Iron Range, but the weather, particularly for someone like me who plays tennis, it's too cold up there," he said. "I have fond memories. I tell people from Minnesota that if I had a choice, I'd live among them as opposed to where I'm living in now in L.A. It's the weather that keeps me away."

Bugliosi went back to Hibbing upon getting married in 1956, returned again for a late-1970s reunion and one more time in 1998 to receive an honorary high school diploma. He recalls his days there fondly.

"Hibbing was a great little town," he said. "I love northern Minnesota. I love the people, I love the culture."



Spahn Ranch Movie Night August 9, 2014

Patty wasn't completely sold on the idea of creepy crawling the ranch on the 45th anniversary of the Tate LaBianca murders since during a nap right before the event she had a scary dream. It kinda freaked her out at first, but you know, a little fear is good. It keeps us honest, no?

Around 8:30pm under a full moon, Patty and her guide ventured down the familiar old path to the Manson Cave, with only a flashlight and the light from the biggest supermoon of the year to light their way.


At the cave, they set up Patty's laptop and streamed her copy of Robert Hendrickson's "Inside the Manson Gang" in the very same place that it was filmed.


At one point in the film, a helicopter flies over the ranch and the girls scramble for the bushes. Patty kids you not: ten minutes later, a helicopter flew overhead with its spotlights on and for a brief terrifying moment, Patty and Stoner thought the jig was up! As Patty's heart came up her esophagus into her mouth, she looked around for somewhere, anywhere to hide. Alas, she's not as adept at it as Red and Blue were and had to pretend she was a rock.

So that's it folks, it was a great time, but now it's time for Patty to go back to where she came from. It's been fun: hope you enjoyed it at least a fraction as much as Patty did. Thank you Stoner, you're a great host!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hall of Justice

On August 9, Patty and Stoner van Houten ventured downtown to see the famous corner of Broadway and Temple where the Family girls held vigil during the Tate LaBianca trial. The building has been under a quarter billion dollar renovation for the past few years and has been completely draped in black until just recently. Although much of the sidewalk is still blocked off, they were able to take the following photos for your viewing pleasure:







Above: Now, and then.

Huell Howser once visited the inside of this building and the 10-11 cell block in which Charles Manson was held for his TV show on PBS. You can see that video here. Word on the street is that you, too can visit Charlie's cell when the Hall opens as a museum sometime next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Last Supper and 10066 Cielo Drive

Apparently, Jon Aes Nihil has been hosting what he refers to as the Last Supper for the past 35 years at El Coyote. This year, Patty was lucky enough to get invited to sit with him, Matthew Roberts, Stoner van Houten and his roomie, Michael Channels, folks from the Museum of Death in Hollywood, "Uncle Paulie" from whatuphollywood.com (who worked for the LA Free Press in 1969) and a mysterious gentleman named "Ed" from Pennsylvania who refused to be photographed.


What a night. Of course, no one showed up on time for 6:30 cocktails (Jon Seger, where were you?). No one showed up on time for dinner either: Reservations were for 7pm, but nearly everyone waited until 8pm to make their appearances. The wait staff was freaking, Stoner was freaking, and Patty successfully resisted the urge to pop an Ativan. Once the table was full however, a good time was had by all as we passed books, photographs and an El Coyote baseball cap around the table to be signed.

By 9:30pm. the wait staff was again freaking. One of them came to the table, looked Patty square in the face and said, "There's a shit ton of people waiting for this table, its time to leave."  Stunned, Patty replied, "Well, I'm not in charge here." "Who is?," he asked?  Patty shrugged, so he stood further down the table and repeated his same line as if he'd been rehearsing it for a while. A gentleman at the table next to the Sharon Tate booth took Patty aside and offered to buy the whole table another round, just to piss dude off.  However, we complied. Michael Channels' video of the occasion can be seen here.

Cielo was next.  David Oman was hosting a party at his house that we were told was a paid event.  Patty didn't ask how much Oman charged per person to tell his ghost stories and serve Foster's on tap.

On the way out, Patty, Stoner and Stoner's roomie Dave Finkelberg noticed Scott Michaels coming up the hill with a group of very sober looking tourists who didn't say a word. Stoner walked up to him and introduced himself.  "Yeah, I've heard of you," he replied.

The next day, a friend of Patty's forwarded her a link from tmz.com: Oman is claiming that the ghost of Sharon Tate set off his fire alarm around midnight. Um...okay...