Monday, December 28, 2015

Tex Watson's Beard

"At the same time I interviewed Linda's husband, Robert Kasabian, I also talked to Charles Melton, the hippie philanthropist from whom Linda had stolen the $5,000. Melton said that in early April 1969 (before Linda ever met the Family) he had gone to Spahn Ranch to see Paul Watkins. While there, Melton had met Tex, who, admiring Melton's beard, commented, "Maybe Charlie will let me grow a beard someday."

"It would be difficult to find a better example of Manson's domination of Watson."

 --  Vincent Bugliosi in Helter Skelter,  page 392

That this is the best example Bugliosi could find of Charles Manson's domination of Charles Watson shows how negligible that supposed domination really was, for the only two photographs taken of Watson during the period he lived at Spahn's Ranch with Manson show him to be bearded.

Charles Watson after his arrest for being under the influence of 
Belladonna (Jimson Weed?) on April 23, 1969

Charles "Tex" Watson at the Spahn Movie Ranch in 1969

Oh, Charlie did tell him to shave, but there was really a more mundane reason for Manson's "demand" that Watson (and, indeed, all the males at Spahn Ranch) remain clean shaven beyond his alleged desire to take control over every aspect of their lives. While it might be hard to believe in a day and age where Grandma is tattooed and pierced and the guy checking your groceries has dinner plates in his ear lobes, in the late 1960s men wearing beards (not to mention long hair!) could actually be considered radical. George Spahn (the owner of Spahn Ranch) was running a business -- horse riding rentals -- that depended to some degree on drop-in customer traffic. Therefore, he wanted his ranch to be as welcoming and friendly -- and normal -- as possible to prospective riders. On top of this, Spahn was also somewhat "old school," and he equated "beards" with "bums." For these two reasons he didn't want a bunch of bearded bums lounging around when Mrs. San Fernando Valley came in to investigate the ranch as a possible place for Sally and her friends to go horseback riding. 

It was George Spahn who instituted the "no beards" rule at Spahn's Ranch, not Charles Manson. Manson's directive to Watson regarding his whiskers was merely a pass down of the orders of George Spahn; it was not part of any mind/ body/soul-control agenda of his own.

Based on my forty-plus years of beard wearing I would categorize Watson's efforts as pretty scraggly. Nevertheless, he looks more bearded than he does clean-shaven, and it's apparent that at some point Manson noticed Watson's facial hair and mentioned it to him. But Watson  was no more "dominated" by having to shave than are the hundreds of thousands of other males who have toned down their preferred appearances for the sake of dress code policies relative to employment opportunities. I did the same thing in 1980 when I cut my hair and shaved off my beard as a condition for working with the Fred Harvey concessionaire at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. (And as much as I enjoyed working there I would not have considered committing mass  murder on the company's behalf.)


Thus, Vincent Bugliosi's "no better example" of Charles Manson's supposed domination of Charles Watson turns out to be just like so much more of the District Attorney's case against the former: It turns out to be nothing. 






28 comments:

Derek Callella said...

Beards hold onto a lot of feces, remember that study?

bucpaul2812 said...

"Therefore, he wanted his ranch to be as welcoming and friendly -- and normal -- as possible to prospective riders...." Or the closest thing to "normal" as you can get with a band of people in their teens and early twenties surviving by means of panhandling, theft and foraging for food in dumpsters. Additionally, it must have been pretty nigh on difficult to affect a veneer of "normalcy" when you've got the likes of the Straight Satans hanging round the ranch.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Surprised George missed this: Believe it or not, at the time, NO cowboy types (like ranch hands) EVER wore beards. I have photos of Mr. Spahn wearing a suit and tie around the ranch cause HE was a businessman.

Of course, Bugliosi HAD to demonstrate "CONTROL" over the Family. That's why there had to be a "Do what Tex tells you" ORDER - otherwise it's TEX who is the "Mastermind."

And, at the time, ANDY GUMP would NOT even hire you, IF you had a beard.

BUT let's remember, Bugliosi NEVER had to worry about a thoughtful brainac getting on the jury. The only real questions THEY submitted to the Judge were like "Can we have pepperoni on our pizza" ?

BUT if I had worked for some organization like the CIA, who had a top priority of developing "Mind Control," I would have had more than one of our crowd on the jury. AND I would have had one of our "robots" be the prosecutor, like THEY had selected in the Black Student Union CASE.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Also Manson told the men to not grow their hair so they wouldn't get noticed. They were slippies, not hippies. And yet they all had quite long hair compared to mainstream society at the time-I always found that contradictory.
I look at those two pictures of Tex and don't think he's got a beard, just unshaven. I think in the photo of Shorty out there, he looks pretty scruffy in the beard too. Not as scruffy as Tex, but definitely not well shaved.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Also, Juan Flynn had as much beard as Tex.

Panamint Patty said...

Dinner plates in his earlobes lol

DebS said...

Mr. Humphrat, I don't believe that there are any pictures of Shorty other than the screen captures from him appearing in films. George Spahn may have given him a pass on that rule if the beard/scruffy look was needed in a film. Just as likely, too, is than none of the pictures of Shorty that we are familiar with were taken at Spahn.

christopher butche said...

How come Atkins was allowed to sport a moustache?

On a more serious note...

Mr Stimson, I am currently reading Goodbye HS, a lot of your footnotes credit Sandra Good's Archive. Are there any plans afoot for ensuring the archive remains together or is available for study? I would imagine it's a unique collection built up over nearly 50 years.

Secondly, any chance of a book about the tales from the Black Bus? Thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable chapter in Goodbye HS.

George Stimson said...

Unfortunately the vast majority of Sandra's archives were destroyed along with most of our other possessions in last September's Valley Fire.

Cielodrive.com said...

Shorty is clean shaven in most of photographs I have of him

The boy wonder said...

Surely the coconut story trumps the beard for dominance?

Manson Family Archives said...

If Charles Manson was the dictatorial ruler of that group as Bugliosi said, nobody would want anything to do with him. He was anti-authoritarian and believed the only rule was that there were no rules. That was largely the appeal of the man.

I could see Charlie cracking a joke about Sadie going to get him a coconut and her pretending like she was heading out the door for a laugh. Like Sandra and Squeaky most likely being sarcastic and mocking Bugliosi's ideas by saying he brought a bird back to like - it became "proof" of his absolute control and brainwashing.

Barbara Hoyt said that about the coconut. Her and Catherine Share always just repeat bullshit the prosecutor said in other TV shows. Hoyt is just a fat ass with a 50 year long vendetta. According to Juanita Wildebush, Hoyt was constantly at odds with Manson and fighting with him all the time. She didn't fear him one bit.

TJ the Terrible had a beard....as did, duh...STEVE GROGAN!

So much of what people think is based upon total bullshit and twisting of facts.

Panamint Patty said...

Boy wonder ur probably hitting your back button after posting. That will create duplicate comments.

Mr. Humphrat said...

DebS yes that occurred to me that the scruffy Shorty was from a screen role, that's what it looked like and I did see the clean shaven ones of him.

MHN said...

Nicely written Mr Stimson, love your posts.

Next question: given that he was a dominating control freak who controlled even their facial hair, is their any evidence that Old Man Spahn had ever been up to Cielo or had a vendetta against anyone living at that address?

I'm joking. Kind of.

Robert Hendrickson said...

I hope EVERYONE understands WHY Bugliosi used the "Beard / Domination" Story. AND the "My watched stopped" Story, etc. etc.

He could have gone into the "Melton / Watkins" Story. He could have gone into the "TEX and HIS mother" Story. BUT Blow-Jobs - male on male and Motherly domination Stories were NOT big sellers among low-information jurists at the time. TODAY, on the other hand, I could make a GREAT "Love Triange" Story with Little Paul, Charlie and TEX that would have you'al sopping at the end. AND this time I would get the Academy Award.

CrisPOA said...

I suppose they were talking about growing a long beard, as Melton is wearing in that court picture along with R Kasabian?
You know a guru beard - like Allen Ginsberg.

I am not supporting the control idea but corroborating the "friendly and normal" environment. As somebody put it, other males wore a beard or were not clean shaven, especially Manson.

grimtraveller said...


Robert Hendrickson said...

I hope EVERYONE understands WHY Bugliosi used the "Beard / Domination" Story

Is it not true that it only appears in his book and never made it into the initial trial ? He did want to use the story but Melton wasn't around to tell it. I think the book refers to him as "afflicted with wanderlust."
Did Charles Melton return to testify at Tex's trial ?

AND the "My watched stopped" Story, etc. etc.

Is the same not true of this story too, it made it into his book. And he clearly states that as far as he was concerned, it was a coincidence. It's simply a funky little story, not one that seriously ascribes watch stopping powers to anyone.

Manson Family Archives said...

He was anti-authoritarian and believed the only rule was that there were no rules. That was largely the appeal of the man

Interesting again, because in both Bugliosi's and George's book, Charlie makes a number of statements that rather contradict this.
Furthermore, many "anti authoritarians" have little problem with issuing orders because they are often against a particular type of authority or a particular authority, not necessarily the entire concept of authority.
It seems to me that love and direction were largely the appeal of the man....



Robert Hendrickson said...

You have the main text of the MANSON murders, but it's the sub-text ((Charlie Manson's Devil-like powers) that DRIVES this CASE into American History FOREVER. Of course, it's the sub-text that convicted HIM.

At the time, most folks were still scared shitless of ANYBODY with supernatural powers. I remember when TEX was extradited and landed at LA Airport at night. The news crews were all over the place and they were mumbling: "Wow, he does look like he is under Manson's spell." And "Look, he is just like a zombie."

For ME, in 1975, when our new MANSON movie poster came off the press - the one with Charlie's hands holding the knife and the Bible and with the sub-title "Does the Devil Exist" - I knew there was something sinister in the wind. I taped the poster on the living room wall of my father in law's house for all to SEE. HIS german shepard dog immediately ATTACKED the poster and within days "Squeaky" atttacked Ford.

christopher butche said...

German Shepard dog? I take it your father-in-law was a member of The Process?

Good Point about the sub-text Mr Hendrickson.

On an aside, I have the two Zebra Killings books on order, so I can keep up with your mind.

Happy New Year Mr Hendrickson.

Robert Hendrickson said...

HAPPPPPY NEEEWWWW YEAAAAAAAR to ALLLLLL - My last cryptic message of 2015

CHRIS - Are you sure YOU want to SEEEEEEE the TRUUUUUUUTH ?

Is a ZEBRA Black with White stripes or White with Black stripes ?

The Prosecutor would say: "It was to ignite a WAR between the White stripes and the Black stripes.

DebS said...

Robert here is something for you to chew on that came out as a result of the Nixon Tapes. John Ehrlichman said in a 1992 interview regarding the Nixon administration's war on drugs, hippies and Blacks:

….“[L]ook, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue for the Nixon White House that we couldn’t resist it.”

…“[T]he Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

From this website under the section titled "Arrest The Whole Damn Lot", about halfway down the page.

https://medium.com/@ReachCASP/health-scientist-blacklisting-and-the-meaning-of-marijuana-in-the-oval-office-in-the-early-1970s-71ea41427b49#.23hw4ftw2

So, who killed the 60s and who took the blame? And who was really more invested in starting "Helter Skelter"?

Robert Hendrickson said...

Thanks Deb - has ANYTHING really "changed" - I mean, THEY used to shoot Black folks out in the woods and now THEY just do it in public.

AND Hippies - has anyone ever made a relevant "body-count" there ?


mrgroove said...

I think the overall lesson for me with Tex is that he's a compulsive liar much like his old compadre of the same name. I don't put much stock in anything he says or said.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Well, here it is folks, right from the Beatle John Lennon's mouth: HE refers to "PIG" as the police and HE wanted to END the "WAR."

Remember - The Beatles are the guys WHO "influenced" Charlie Manson into THINKING there was going to be a Black and White race WAR, called Helter Skelter.

Most relevant JOHN uses the word "PIG" in reference to ALL cops. AND was NOT the word "PIG" written on the front door of the TATE house ?

So HOW & WHY did the Prosecutor convince a JURY of highly educated men and women to believe that "PIG" instead refers to RICH folks ?

Were the cops WHO passed by the front door simply illerate ?

May the NEW YEAR be mentally stimulating for ALL.

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

Well, here it is folks, right from the Beatle John Lennon's mouth: HE refers to "PIG" as the police and HE wanted to END the "WAR."

Remember - The Beatles are the guys WHO "influenced" Charlie Manson into THINKING there was going to be a Black and White race WAR, called Helter Skelter.

Most relevant JOHN uses the word "PIG" in reference to ALL cops. AND was NOT the word "PIG" written on the front door of the TATE house ?


The Beatles were seen by Charlie, according to Catherine Share, as confirming what he had been saying for a long while about the Black/White conflict, rather than actually influencing it or spelling it out for CM to adopt.
It's true that Lennon referred to cops as pigs. That was one of a number of countercultural references to the police {in England they were also called the fuzz, in the USA, they were also called the Man} but terms were often interchangeable. Lennon started getting shirty about cops when the Stones got busted in 1967. The "Semolina Pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower" in "I am the Walrus" was a reference to Detective Norman Pilcher who was on a crusade to bust pop stars for drugs {he did the Stones, Lennon & Harrison among others} and ended up getting done himself for corruption.
Oh irony of ironies !
You can see from this the link between swine and the police. This magazine cover is from May '71 though. Among Black youngsters of the 70s & 80s, 'pig' was reference to White people or in particular, White females {'pork' and 'beef' referred respectively to White & Black girls}. I remember my parents telling my sisters and I to respond with "pink pigs" when we were called niggers in the 60s.

So HOW & WHY did the Prosecutor convince a JURY of highly educated men and women to believe that "PIG" instead refers to RICH folks ?

Well, the Beatles were a treasure trove of creative writers of both similar and divergent opinions. George Harrison says of "Piggies" that it was "social comment. I was stuck for one line in the middle until my mother came up the lyric what they need is a damn good whacking ! [a damn good throttling] which is a nice simple way of saying they need a good hiding. It needed to rhyme with 'backing', 'lacking' and had absolutely nothing to do with American policemen or Californian shagnasties !" {a reference to the Family}.
One can see from Leslie Van Houten in her December '69 interview with Marvin Part saying "and “Pig” was the white ~ the white businessman who hated his neighbor, couldn’t look at his neighbor with love, who was going to get it in the end" that she's picked up on the Harrison end of the spectrum rather than the Lennon end, that 'pig' referred to straight society and in her estimation, well off white straight society.
'Pig' was a term that had more than one application on both sides of the Atlantic {it could mean sexist, for example}, depending on who was using it. The prosecutor simply needed to bring out what had been obvious to the Family members since 1968.

CrisPOA said...

Grim I agree with you, i believe the family used "pig" in reference to the well off white society. And that goes along with the helter skelter philosophy. I don't think HS as the motive but as a sort of philosophy inside the family. For me the motive was Manson hatred for the "piggies", after Melcher and the music industry turned him down. That's why he chose Cielo to begin with but used his HS to manipulate - or stimulate? - the others

mrgroove said...

I'm a little late to the party on this one but does anyone know around what month of 1969 the second photo of Tex was taken? His hair is considerably longer than in the April mug shot of the same year.