Monday, October 3, 2016

What Freaked Out Charlie?


 "Something freaked Manson out in early 1969 enough for him to prepare for the end of Western Civilization." (The Family pp.147)

Brooks Poston (Watson Trial):

“Q: While the rest of the family was at Barker Ranch, that is Manson, you and the others, did Manson ever leave Barker Ranch for Los Angeles and then return to Barkers?
A: Yes.
Q: When is the first time he did that?
A: He left in November.
Q: 1968?
A: Yes.
Q: When he returned to Barker Ranch did he say anything about what was happening in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, he said, "The shit's coming down."
Q: Did he say what he meant by that?
A: Yeah, that the revolution, the Black-White war was in the process of happening.
Q: This was in November of 1968?
A: Yes.
Q: Did he leave for Los Angeles several more times?
A: Yes.
Q: And when he returned, what would he say?
A: He also said the same thing; he said that it was really coming down fast.
Q: On New Year's Eve of 1969 did Manson again return to Barker Ranch from Los Angeles?
A: Yes.”

Paul Watkins (Watson Trial): 

“Q: How did it start out?
A: It started out in about New Year's -- as a matter of fact, it was New Year's Eve between 1968 and 1969, that Charlie was down in the city and the rest of the family was up at the Barker Ranch****
*****
Q: Did it happen at or about the time you met somebody by the name of Mr. Crockett?
A: Yes, it did. I will tell you about it. I was telling you I began to get rather disgusted and disheartened with what was going on at the ranch, because it got to be a revolution type scene where everyone was talking about revolution and we were collecting guns and building dune buggies and things like that --
Q: Let's stop this; let's tell us about collecting guns.
When did you start to do that?
A: It was about the spring of 1969”

It has been said that the shooting of Bernard Crowe was the ‘trigger’ that set Manson off, ‘freaked him out’ but Bernard Crowe was shot on July 1, 1969, seven months after these events and two months after Paul Watkins left the family because of Manson’s violent ideas. 

“Q: In late May, was it, 1969, at Spahn Ranch?
A: Yes.
Q: Charlie said, "We are going to have to show Blacky how to do it"?
A: Yes.
Q: Now, when Manson said this, what effect, if any, did it have on you?
A: Had a heck of an effect because I already knew how he had said it. It was supposed to be done and I didn't want to kill anybody. I didn't want to show him how to do it.
Q: So what did you do?
A: I left, left the family and went to the desert.
Q: How long after Manson told you that "We," apparently referring to the family, were going to have to do it, did you leave?
A: That day.
Q: You went up to Barker Ranch?
A: Yes.
Q: You didn't want to have anything to do with helter-skelter?
A: No, I didn't.
Q: Because you knew this would involve killing?
A: I suspected such.
Q: You didn't want to kill anyone?
A: Correct.”

By the middle of January Manson was obsessed with Helter Skelter. By the time the Family moved to the Gresham Street house (Yellow Submarine) from Barker, it would appear Manson was already over the top. 

“In January 1969, Watkins said, “we all moved into the Gresham Street house to get ready for Helter Skelter. So we could watch it coming down and see all of the things going on in the city. He [Charlie] called the Gresham Street  house ‘The Yellow Submarine’ from the Beatles’ movie. It was like a submarine in that when you were in it you weren’t allowed to go out. You could only peek out of the windows.”   Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

It might be argued that the source of Manson’s ‘freak out’ was the Beatles, White Album. He returned on that New Years Eve, with a copy and made his ‘hep to the Beatles’ comment but on closer examination the Beatles only served to provide a framework for what Manson had already concocted from his Farad (Fard)-Nation of Islam- Book of Revelations-Racist ideas: the black versus white race war. The Beatles only gave it a name: Helter Skelter. They didn’t inspire it. 

“Charles Manson was already talking about an imminent black-white war when Gregg Jakobson first met him, in the spring of 1968. There was an underground expression current at the time, “the shit is coming down,” variously interpreted as meaning the day of judgment was at hand or all hell was breaking loose, and Charlie often used it in reference to the coming racial conflict. But he wasn’t rabid about it, Gregg said; it was just one of many subjects they discussed.”  Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

“Q: Now, prior to New Year's he used to say the s-h-i-t was coming down fast?
A: Yes.
Q: But this particular occasion he came back to Barker and said, "Helter-skelter is coming down fast"?
A: Yes.
Q: So he substituted the word "helter-skelter" for "s-h-i-t"; is that correct?
A: Yes.
Q: Thereafter it was always "helter-skelter is coming down"?
A: Yes.”
(Brooks Poston: Watson Trial)

There were, in fact, coincidences in the songs on that record, ‘Sadie’ appeared in ‘Sexy Sadie’, the phrase ‘coming down fast’ appeared, ‘piggies’ were ‘whacked’ and the interesting ‘in’ that appeared in Revolution #1 tantalized. But every one of these can be explained by the common parlance or shared beliefs of the time (except ‘Sadie’). 

So what event or events triggered Manson’s freak-out? 

Here are some possible ‘suspects’. 

1. The Assassination of Alprentice ‘Bunchy’ Carter and John Huggins

On January 17, 1969 US Organization members gunned down Carter and Huggins at the Black Student Union meeting in Campbell Hall on the campus of UCLA.


Los Angeles Times, Saturday, January 18, 1969


 The Argument For

Both Carter and Huggins were Black Panthers. Carter was the LA chapter head and Huggins was a senior ‘Captain’. Carter, like many Panthers, was a ‘black muslim’ (The term here means Nation of Islam-influenced: 'Fard-ists'.) politicized and converted in Soledad prison.

The UCLA-Panther connection is present. They were gunned down on the UCLA campus, which happens to be the only Panther shooting (or Panther bodies found) on the UCLA campus, although neither were ‘dumped’ there. 

It would have been well known. Manson didn’t read newspapers and there was a lot of notoriety about this event. Carter was the leader of the LA Panthers and the former ‘Mayor of the Ghetto’ or ‘Mayor of Watts’ depending on what you read. He was also a former high-ranking member of the Slauson street gang and commander of Renegade Slauson a group who could make the Crips, cower.

They looked like they were ready to start a war. Three hours later, ostensibly to prevent retaliation against US, 150 LAPD descended on Huggin’s home and arrested 17 Panthers confiscating a small arsenal of weapons including military carbines and home made bombs. 

The Argument Against

By the time the Family relocated to the Yellow Submarine Manson was already 'freaked'. The murders happened on January 17th. The murders don’t fit Watkins and Poston’s timeline of November-December 1968. 

The US Organization carried out the murders. This was one black militant group against another, the Panthers. This doesn’t fit Manson’s Helter Skelter. Blacks should have been killing whites. 

2. The Strange Case of Frank ‘Captain Franco’ Diggs

Here is how Elaine Brown, one time head of the Black Panthers, describes Diggs: 

“Frank Diggs, Captain Franco, was reputedly leader of the Panther underground. He had spent twelve years in Sing Sing Prison in New York on robbery and murder charges. Now he was Bunchy’s right hand. 

****
Franco was slightly insane, Ericka had told me. Prison had done it. He thought he had been fed peas in prison that contained small microphones, which, remaining in his body, allowed  guards and police to monitor his life. That was why, even now, he lived so carefully, outright paranoid about everything, especially dirt. He showered at least twice a day and never wore any item of clothing more than once without it being cleaned or washed. He polished his shoes daily, tops and bottoms. The result was spectacular. 

****
‘You don’t have to be afraid, Sister Elaine [Diggs said]. I would make it so beautiful for you. Other than making love to a Sister, downing a pig is the greatest feeling in the world. Have you ever seen a pig shot with a .45 automatic, Sister Elaine?’”

Brown, Elaine. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story (Kindle Locations 2636-2638). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

By all accounts Diggs was Bunchy Carter’s ‘enforcer’. His preferred weapon a .45 automatic. He was also the LA Panther with ties to the ‘underground’ which is a nice way of saying he was the one who obtained dope and more importantly difficult to obtain guns like military grade carbines. 

What makes Diggs’ murder strange is the fact no one seems to agree where it took place, when it took place or how he was killed. There is also almost a complete lack of information about the murder and only one mention in the press. Given the FBI (COINTELPRO) was at its anti-Panther pinnacle in late 1968 this event should have garnered more publicity, especially given the claims (by some) that Diggs was killed by his own people. Instead, this is the only record of the event I could find. 

Independent Press Telegram, Saturday, December 21, 1968

Most other mentions of the murder are inaccurate, including Elaine Brown's. Main and 157th is not in Long Beach it’s in West Compton and he was killed on December 19th not the 30th or the first and he was shot twice in the head: 

“Franco had been killed. He had been shot in the head three times in an alley in Long Beach. It had happened earlier that evening [December 30].”  Brown, Elaine. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story

“The slaying of Frank Diggs in Los Angeles in December, 1968, suggests the same ruthless discipline at work within the Panther party. His lacerated body, with two bullet holes in the chest, was found in an alley.” Who Will Bell the Panthers, James Kilpatrick, The Fresno Bee, June 20, 1970. 

“December 30: Los Angeles Panther Frank Diggs is shot in the head and killed by police agents.” Black Panther Party, Pieces of History: 1966 - 1969

“On Jan. 1, 1969, Captain Franco (Frank Diggs), the reputed leader of the BPP's local underground apparatus, was shot dead in an alley in Long Beach.” The FBI's War on the Black Panther Party's Southern California Chapter

“Franko Diggs, forty, who was a captain in the Black Panther Party, was found fatally shot in the Watts section of Los Angeles on December 19, 1968. No witnesses to the shooting could be found, but the police identified the murder weapon from the bullets as a foreign-made 9-mm. automatic pistol. Almost a year later, when the Los Angeles police crime laboratory was doing routine ballistics tests on eighteen weapons seized in a raid on Black Panther headquarters early in 1969, it was found that one of the confiscated Panther automatics ballistically matched the bullet that had killed Diggs.” The Black Panthers and the Police: A Pattern of Genocide? NEW YORKER, February 13, 1971 by Edward Jay Epstein

Epstein puts an end the discussion by claiming Panthers killed Diggs. His accusation is picked up and repeated by other ‘law and order’ writers at the time. Kilpatrick, above, was the first to make the claim. The problem is no source is cited for this information and there does not appear to be one that I could find. Diggs was Bunchy Carter’s ‘enforcer’. While it is possible US murdered Diggs, a Panther murder, given his connection, seems unlikely. 

The claim is precisely the type of information the FBI would have blared like Joshua’s trumpets and yet there is no mention of Diggs in the newspapers of the time or the FBI files. A Panther hit on a Panther is precisely the type of information the FBI was struggling to make up in 1968. They’d have dropped to their knees thanking the Lord above if they had been handed these ballistics. Instead…..crickets. 

Then again, since I make my living being paranoid, the absence of any Panther rhetoric in response to Diggs’ death at the time or now is highly unusual. Here is what Elaine Brown (not a particularly trustworthy reporter) says. She is typically ‘all in’ on the ‘FBI plot to exterminate the Panthers’. It fills the pages of her book:

"In December of 1968, one of our comrades, Frank "Franco" Diggs, was killed in an alley in Long Beach. We, to this minute, can't trace how that happened. Franco was one of the key figures in the formation of the chapter and probably one of the people closest to Bunchy Carter."

The Argument For

Unless you are a conspiracy buff (I'm not), there is none. 

If you are a conspiracy buff here are a few questions that might make you go 'hmmm': Is this the Panther Manson actually killed? He is essentially a gunrunner and drug dealer. He may have been dumped in an alley (not at UCLA). Why does anyone believe that Manson or anyone else believed Bernard Crowe was a Panther when they knew who he was-a drug dealer? Diggs was killed by a 9mm, isn’t that a Family favorite? Hinman? LaBianca? Where did Manson get his small arsenal, confiscated at Spahn? Wouldn’t killing an actual Panther, especially Diggs give Manson a real reason to be paranoid they were after him?

I was told that because Diggs’ murder is listed as ‘unsolved’ (and given its age, probably closed and destroyed) a request for information to LAPD or LASO will be declined. 

The Argument Against

The murder is too obscure. It gained little notoriety. Even Panthers who were close to it at the time (Elaine Brown) get the facts wrong and again it is a Panther being killed so it doesn’t fit Helter Skelter. 

3. The Murder of Bryan Clay

On December 9, 1968 at 9:40 p.m. three black youths approached 18 year old Bryan Clay on fraternity row on the USC campus and for no apparent reason stabbed him to death. At least that is what Manson likely heard. 
Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, December 11, 1968



Trivia: Paul Fitzgerald represented the murderer. 

USC is a ‘private’ institution. Tuition was high. The student body was drawn primarily from affluent, white families. One fraternity brother described USC like this: ‘We are a white island in a black sea and you have to face it.” 

The Argument For

The murder of Clay fits Helter Skelter. Blacks leave the ghetto and kill whitey. Its timing is right, early December 1969. It is a seemingly random murder (unless you read). It is a black murdering an affluent white young man in a ‘rich’ (Fraternity Row) neighborhood. Because it involved a black man killing a white man it received a good deal of press at the time so it likely was common knowledge. 

It also eerily foreshadows the murders to come eight months later: a knife-wielding killer(s) invades a ‘white bastion’ and murders a wealthy white young man. 

Did this influence Manson? Is that why, despite the multiple guns at Spahn, Manson sent knives? Certainly he should have realized the Panthers were about guns, not knives. Didn’t he know about the Panthers appearing armed at the state legislature? That act, incidentally, spawned the most restrictive anti-Second Amendment (right to bear arms) law in history- a law signed by Governor Ronald Reagan- because openly armed black men showed up at the capital. Guns were the whole point of the Panthers. It stirred memories of ‘armed slaves’ and scared white people. Was he trying to tie the later murders back to Clay? 

Not likely. 

The Argument Against

I’ll leave the arguments for you. 

4. The Times

Of course it could have been the times. Until January 1968 there were no Black Panthers in LA and likely they didn’t even make an impression until a month or so later. Then they were there and a big, scary presence. 

The membership of the LA Panthers was drawn from the Slausons a street gang (the 1968 equivalent of the Crips or Bloods) and went on to demonstrate a willingness to further the revolution ‘by any means necessary’. 

On August 5, 1968 during the Watts Festival commemorating the Watts riots police followed a carload of Panthers to Ham's Mobil Service Station (The Crenshaw Shootout) supposedly because they turned suspiciously into a driveway and then backed out. When three of the four Panthers refused to respond to police commands a shootout followed. By all accounts the Panthers fired first. Three Panthers were killed and two police officers were wounded. 

“If anything, the fact that these Panthers stood their ground and fought the police to the death strengthened the Party’s revolutionary credentials and drew new recruits, including alienated Vietnam War hero Geronimo Pratt.”  Bloom, Joshua; Martin, Waldo E., Jr.. Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (p. 216). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.

The Redlands Daily Facts, Tuesday, August 6, 1968

Look who was also involved: our friend Frank Diggs.

After this event LA Panther rhetoric became increasingly threatening. The feud also developed between the Panthers and the US Organization that culminated in the deaths of ‘Bunchy’ Carter and John Huggins (and others).

The Argument For 

It certainly looked like a black revolution was imminent. Even the Panthers believed  it was occurring.

“Readers today may have difficulty imagining a  revolution in the United States. But in the late 1960s, many thousands of young black people, despite the potentially fatal outcome of their actions, joined the Black Panther Party and dedicated their lives to revolutionary struggle”.  Bloom, Joshua; Martin, Waldo E., Jr.. Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (p. 2). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.

The Argument Against

This was a ‘slow burn’ and nothing of any significance happened in November-December 1968 on this timeline. Manson may have seen this all happening and viewed it from the perspective of his apocalyptic hallucination but nothing on the timeline stands out as a catalyst after August 5th.

I do wonder if Manson used the anniversary of the Watts Riots (August 11-15, 1965) as his focal point for the murders but like many of his schemes screwed up the details, getting the precise date wrong. 

“While at the Gresham Street house, Manson had told Watkins that the atrocious murders would occur that summer.  It was almost summer now and the blacks were showing no signs of rising up to fulfill their karma.”  Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Something, did, indeed, freak Manson out in late 1968 or early 1969.

“We didn't know when it was happening -- like I'd look out the window and wonder if it was going to happen today, you know -- think what was the quickest way to get to shelter if it was to happen right now.” Paul Watkins. 







77 comments:

starviego said...


"Something freaked Manson out in early 1969..."


I would have to agree with that. Right about then Manson..

--started collecting guns

--was recruiting bikers for protection

--was telling Family members that blacks were going to come out of the ghetto in the summer to slaughter whites in the rich parts of town

--paradoxically, was also telling them that he, Charlie, was going to have to show them how to do it


One would think Charlie would be anxious to share the thing that had him so spooked, and that validated his HS prediction. But apparently he told none of the Family. Nor did the cops or prosecutor show much curiosity as to what it was. And that secret has remained so for the last 47 years.

But it seems certain that HS had already been planned out months before, and was no last minute decision.

George Stimson said...

Any article that uses Ed Sanders as its "factual" basis is bound to go nowhere.

grimtraveller said...

"Something freaked Manson out in early 1969..."

Isn't that just Ed Sanders employing his own brand of poetic licence to give that part of his book some spice ?
By all accounts and even from Charlie himself to Rolling Stone in March 1970, he picked up some stuff from the Beatles' lyrical input on the white album that shifted his thinking along, somewhat. According to Gypsy, things that Charlie heard the Beatles saying in their songs merely confirmed in his mind stuff he'd been talking about for much of '68. Even during his trial he would comment on the lyrical messages in the songs that to him had an obvious import and emphasis ~ rebel, revolt, kill.
With a mind that is acid enhanced, even if it's with half doses, you never know when that white lightning is going to strike or how. John Lennon had been an acid head for 3 years before he gathered the other Beatles and their entourage together sometime in '68 to announce to them that he was Jesus, the messiah, come again. Why did this not happen in '66 or '67 when he was almost permanently tripping ? That's acid. One can't predict exactly when certain realizations will hit or episodes will happen. Like, it's hard to predict when depression will strike.

starviego said...

paradoxically, was also telling them that he, Charlie, was going to have to show them how to do it

I don't see this as a paradox, just impatience and a build up. He wasn't saying this according to the likes of Watkins, Lake and Flynn until May and June but the likes of Pat and Leslie {and if what she told Howard & Graham initially is accurate, Susan} certainly understood at some level that they were going to have a part to play in kicking off HS.
Even by the time he was speaking to George for most of what found it's way into "Goodbye Helter Skelter" Charlie was of the opinion that Black people were basically white clones in Black skins that couldn't do anything without being shown how to by White people. He's remained remarkably consistent on this. His showing the Black man how to get HS started in no way conflicts with his prediction of what the Black race would go on to do.

St Circumstance said...

I need to go back and look at The Myth of Helter Skelter- Susans final version of things. She talks about Crowe at length, and its affects on Charlie. If you read Texs comments below- it sounds at first as if they know Crowe- but then at the end of his chapter on this subject he brings up the Panther idea..



When I got to Luella's apartment, however, there was a snag. Her friend, a black dealer named Bernard Crowe — “Big Crow” or “Lotsapoppa,” in the trade — wasn't about to just hand over $2,750 to me on the promise that I'd bring him back some grass.

It was Luella and Big Crow, not surprisingly, raging mad. We'd already agreed that Charlie would handle this end of it, and I listened as he claimed that I'd left the Family several weeks before and that he didn't know anything about where I'd gone. It didn't sell. Charlie told us when he hung up that Big Crow said he knew I was at the ranch and if he didn't get his money back he was coming out with his boys and kill everyone at Spahn.


I heard the rest of what happened from T. J. the next day. He and Charlie drove into Hollywood to the apartment where Big Crow lived.

At the ranch the next day, Charlie couldn't stop talking about how he “plugged blackie.” We all assumed Crowe had died, especially when a report came on the news that the body of a Black Panther had been dumped near U.C.L.A. the night before. This made us a little uneasy, since we hadn't figured on getting involved with the Panthers, and Charlie got even more nervous when almost immediately it seemed that all kinds of blacks started showing up, renting horses. He was convinced they were Panther spies and he started posting armed guards at night and having us sleep scattered back in the hills. If we'd
needed any more proof that Helter Skelter was coming down very soon, this was it — blackie was trying to get at the chosen ones.

Dreath said...

Grim said: "Isn't that just Ed Sanders employing his own brand of poetic licence to give that part of his book some spice ?"

I stole it from Starviego's post and didn't even think about the ultimate source- copy-paste- it sounded like a good opening. Probably should have left it off.

orwhut said...

Paranoia seems to be an occupational risk for cult leaders.

ziggyosterberg said...


Maybe someone who knows a lot about guns (grimtraveller?) can tell me why a hillbilly from Kentucky would think that he could kill a fat guy with a single shot to the stomach from a 22 caliber pistol? (I suddenly have this weird premonition that Grim will say that he knew a fat guy in Brixton or Luton who was shot in the stomach with a BB gun and died immediately). Aren't 22's used for shooting at pop cans? (I suddenly have this weird premonition that Grim will tell me the musical history of the 22 caliber, from Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Saturday Night Special", etc.).

How hard would it have been to find out that Lotsapoppa was still alive? Wouldn't Charlie have checked around to see if he was dead/if the cops were after him, etc. Did Charlie and TJ just drop Luella/Rosina off at her apartment and say "Don't let me know if you hear anything. I want to think that he's dead. So don't ruin it for me, ok?"

Another question I have is why did Tex shoot little Steven 4 times with that same gun that Charlie used. Isn't that overkill and a waste of ammo, considering it was such a deadly weapon - killed Fatsopoppa with one shot. And what's with all the stabbing too? Not just Steven, but Jay and Voytek. Once he shot each of them, like Charlie, he just should have walked away thinking they were dead - no need to stab....unless Tex knew that the gun didn't do the job of killing Lotsapoppa.... (Premonition of Grim informing me that Tex was stabbing in accordance with Charlie's instructions to use knives more than guns...stab more than shoot..whatever etc.)

If Tex and Charlie both knew that Lotsapoppa was still alive, would they have logically deduced that they would be the 2 people that Lotsapoppa would be most pissed at? I can't make much sense of all this Black Panther fear/obsession leading to the Helter Skelter rap becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy with the Manson/Watson co-production of Tate/Labianca with Tex in the lead role. It seems laughable, at this point, that the root cause of all of Charlie's fears of the Black Panthers in the summer of 69, could be a trumpet player. And yet it all started with a trumpet player.....or was it a plate of shrimp? A far-flung plate of shrimp, perhaps? Can't remember.

St Circumstance said...

From Myth of Helter Skelter which Sadie was writing when she died:


This began what might be called the hunt for the Magic Motive. That is to say ‘the hunt for anything that would convince a jury that Charles Manson, and Charles Manson alone, was the beneficiary of these murders.’

But he didn’t find out that the murder of Gary Hinman was connected to Bernard Crowe until well after the Grand Jury. How could he possibly uncover the real motive for the murders of those at the Cielo and LaBianca homes without understanding the real reason for Gary Hinman’s death?

He couldn’t.

It wasn’t until the trial started that Vincent Bugliosi finally found out about the suspected murder of Bernard Crowe. This suspected murder would have an incredible effect on the actions of Charles Manson, but by the time Vincent Bugliosi discovered it he was already selling Helter Skelter to a jury. To have tried to change the purported motive at that point would have cost him his credibility in a case in which he was already stretching his credibility to the limit.

Bernard Crowe was a black drug dealer in the San Fernando Valley. What apparently happened, though none of us were privy to this at the time, was that in response to Manson’s pressure Charles Watson had orchestrated a drug deal with Bernard Crowe. Apparently Watson convinced Crowe to give him the drugs, leaving his fiancé behind as security. Watson apparently told Crowe he would sell the drugs to a waiting buyer and then return immediately with the money.

But this isn’t what happened.

Another thing worth noting is that the girl wasn’t really his fiancé. He’d only just met her and apparently he decided to abandon her and run off with the drugs. Unfortunately the girl had heard Watson call some people earlier and she remembered the phone number. When Watson didn’t come back and Bernard Crowe began pressuring the girl, she called the number she’d seen Watson call and she asked for “Charles.” But Charles Watson was known as “Tex” at Spahn’s Ranch. There was only one “Charles,” and that was Charles Manson. When Manson answered the phone Crowe told him he was a Black Panther and he knew where Manson was and if Manson didn’t come down and give him his money, he and all his Black Panther buddies were going to make a raid at Spahn’s Ranch and kill everyone there.

St Circumstance said...

To Charles Manson this was no small problem. There was no way he could run from the police, the bikers, and the Panthers… he was broke. So he had to deal with Bernard Crowe one way or another. If he couldn’t con Bernard Crowe, Charles Manson believed the only way to prevent the Panthers from getting his name and where-abouts was to eliminate the source – Bernard Crowe. If something happened to Crowe no one would be around to tell the Panthers anything. But either way, it had to be done quick.

when Manson got to Bernard Crowe’s apartment there were several of his friends there. Manson tried to smooth-talk him, but when that didn’t work and an altercation became inevitable Manson signaled T.J. to pull the gun. But T.J.’s better sense prevailed and he refused to pull the gun out of the back of Manson’s pants. This left Manson standing all alone in the middle of Bernard Crowe’s living room, in a predominantly black neighborhood, facing several Black Panthers and one angry dope-dealer who’d just been ripped off.

Manson was forced to pull the gun himself. He shot Bernard Crowe right in the chest. Crowe fell to the ground and lay still. Manson and T. J. ran.

Believing he had murdered Bernard Crowe, Charles Manson became frantic. He had, through his undying self-centeredness and an incredible underestimation of T.J.’s integrity, put himself in a position where he had dirtied his own hands. Immediately he had two huge additional problems. The first was that many of the people in and around Spahn’s Ranch knew he had gone to see Crowe. That meant there were possibly a dozen people who could corroborate any accusation against him. It was an incredible blunder for a boastful career criminal. Even among his loyal Family he must have felt as though a rope was coiling around his neck. And so he came up with a plan to protect himself from the very people he claimed he was willing to give his life for.

St Circumstance said...

The true irony of this moment can only be appreciated if one understands the real reason all the killings began – to get money so that Manson could run away from the police and the Black Panthers, who he was sure were coming after him for killing Bernard Crowe.

At this one moment it must have all became obvious to Charles Manson. Bernard Crowe wasn’t dead. Manson hadn’t killed anyone that day. What’s worse was that it was also obvious that Bernard Crowe must have never mentioned the shooting to the police. And none of Crowe’s friends had either. And no Panthers had ever come up to wipe out Spahn Ranch.

That was the moment when the true horror and tragedy of all those murders should have come to Manson. That was the moment when it was obvious that when Charles Manson had ordered the murder of Gary Hinman, no one, not the police or the Panthers, was pursuing him. There had been no need for desperation. There had been no need for money to flee. And there had been no need for Gary Hinman to die.

So, Charles Manson’s fears about Crowe led to the completely unnecessary murder of Gary Hinman. Bobby Beausoliel’s arrest for the murder of Gary led to the horrific murders at the Cielo residence and the LaBianca residence. The murders at the Cielo and LaBianca residences led, ultimately, to the murder of Shorty Shea. And all of it was for nothing!

Seeing Bernard Crowe alive and in police custody should have sent a sickening chill through Charles Manson. The horror of nine innocent people dead should have filled him.

But I don’t know if it did. What I really think troubled him was the thought that Crowe might press charges or put a hit out on him.

On a personal note, I have often wished that I could have been there when this exchange took place. To see the look on Charles Manson’s face at the moment when he realized nine people had died and eight more were on their way to death row for nothing. All for nothing.

I would have liked to have seen if even a flicker of recognition of that horror showed on his face for even a second - some sign that for one moment in his life he actually cared about those people, both for those victims he hadn’t even known and for those young people who had trusted him.

And the heavens must have cried.

St Circumstance said...

So you can take Susan and Tex's words for what they are worth. As they have aged and become more clear minded as adults- I tend to believe more of what they said then the testimony and statements that were given at the time- but I don't trust either one of them personally. When all of them tell a story the same way- I give them a little more consideration though.

I do think its a little interesting- if true lol- that Susan is the first person I have heard say Crwoe TOLD THEM he was a panther...

St Circumstance said...

I actually missed one small piece between the second and third paragraphs. The third and final paragraph she is talking about later when Charlie saw Crowe alive- obviously.

Also- in case you couldn't tell- in the first paragraph I pasted- I picked it up mid story- the "He" she is talking about in reards to not finding out about Crowe until after is Bugs...

Dreath said...

I admit I dismissed out of hand the Crowe- dumped Panther idea. Why?

First, if you are going to buy/sell $2700 worth of dope from/to someone you are going to know who you are selling/buying from. The reason is fear of the cops- trafficking. On that you may just have to take my word for it. It is truly amazing how often narcs forgot to check their shoes.

But also look at what is actually said by our two sources- words matter when you evaluate a witness:

Watson: "Charlie told us when he hung up that Big Crow said he knew I was at the ranch and if he didn't get his money back he was coming out with his boys and kill everyone at Spahn."

The statement is hearsay but at least he identified his source: Manson and places himself right there. The statement sounds like what any drug dealer might say. There is no Panther mention. Combine that with the fact that like other posts here I was never able to find a murdered Panther in the timeframe, let alone one dumped at UCLA. And 'yes' such a story should have been reported.

Atkins:

'What apparently happened, though none of us were privy to this at the time....'

She didn't hear the phone conversation and didn't even know about Crowe until after the fact. Her statement is hearsay (unreliable) but unlike Tex she doesn't ID her source. Manson? Brenda from Katie from Clem? Watson's book? See that word 'apparently'. That's not an accident. She uses it several times.

"If he couldn’t con Bernard Crowe, Charles Manson believed the only way to prevent the Panthers from getting his name and where-abouts was to eliminate the source – Bernard Crowe. If something happened to Crowe no one would be around to tell the Panthers anything."

"This left Manson standing all alone in the middle of Bernard Crowe’s living room, in a predominantly black neighborhood, facing several Black Panthers and one angry dope-dealer who’d just been ripped off."

And standing there after he shot a Panther in a room full of Panthers wasn't an even worse scenario? If Manson went there to 'shut up' a Panther before he could call for back-up....ah...why did he leave a handful of Panther witnesses and Luella/Rosina alive and steal one guy's coat so they could show up at the ranch and say 'that's the guy, the one wearing my coat'?

PS: there are a number of books about/that mention the LA Panthers and a few fairly in depth stories. Several are either written by participants (Elaine Brown) or quote them extensively. None I read mention Manson at all. He was not even a blip on their radar.

Mr. Humphrat said...

ziggyosterberg said...


Maybe someone who knows a lot about guns (grimtraveller?) can tell me why a hillbilly from Kentucky would think that he could kill a fat guy with a single shot to the stomach from a 22 caliber pistol? (I suddenly have this weird premonition that Grim will say that he knew a fat guy in Brixton or Luton who was shot in the stomach with a BB gun and died immediately). Aren't 22's used for shooting at pop cans? (I suddenly have this weird premonition that Grim will tell me the musical history of the 22 caliber, from Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Saturday Night Special", etc.).

LOL BEAUTIFUL ZIGGY-

DebS said...

Zig, I'm going to channel my inner Grim. It's not that a .22 isn't capable of killing, because it most certainly is capable, it's that it is less likely to be fatal than a larger caliber cartridge because of energy levels and size. Where a person is shot and whether or not a vital organ or artery is hit is key.

Here is a discussion on the .22lr and it's effectiveness as it relates to self defense. It might be worth it for you to read the entire article, not just what I have quoted from the article.

http://shootingthebull.net/blog/22lr-for-defense-its-about-probabilities-not-possibilities/


" “The .22LR has killed more people than any other cartridge in history.”

“The .22LR will kill you deader than crap.”

“The caliber wars are over. Caliber doesn’t matter.”

And that leads us to the holy grail of gun statements:


“The only three things that matter are shot placement, shot placement, and shot placement.”

As with so many other subjects in life, there’s truth in all of the above statements, and all of the above statements can be misused to seriously mislead someone. So let’s look at them and see if we can’t make some sense out of all this — especially in how it applies to armed self defense.

First — the notion that the .22LR has killed more people than any other caliber. Is this true? I don’t know — I haven’t seen any studies done that actually attempt to correlate and compare these figures. It is likely true that .22LR is the most popular caliber in the world, and it is probably true that more accidents happen with .22LR than with any other. It may be true that more youth get involved in accidents with .22LR than other calibers. But even if it ends up being true that the .22LR has killed more people than any other caliber, does that make .22LR the best caliber for self defense? MOST DEFINITELY NOT. For a number of reasons, but let’s start with the first and most basic — self defense isn’t about “killing” an attacker. Armed self defense is about STOPPING an attack. Whether the attacker dies is not our primary focus, and certainly shouldn’t be — after all, if your desire is to “kill” someone, then you’re not acting in self defense, you’re trying to murder someone. If your intent is to immediately halt someone from doing you imminent serious bodily injury or death, that’s self defense — and stopping someone doesn’t have to leave them dead.

Let’s turn to the second statement — “The .22LR will kill you deader than crap.” Is this true? Yes, a .22LR is a lethal caliber that absolutely can kill. A .22LR is more than enough bullet that, if it hits a vital structure, can bring about incapacitation or death. But, again, does that make it an appropriate choice for a self-defense caliber? I would say it has zero bearing on the discussion. Example: when people die from gunshots, is that always because they were shot in self defense? Obviously not. Accidents, and assassinations, are not cases of self defense. .22LR has been used by assassins, with the specific intent to kill — and kill it can — but that cannot be attributed to self defense. So if someone dies from an assassination or from a gun-related accident, what bearing does that have on the legitimacy of a caliber for being appropriate for self defense? None. After all, what use is it to you, if you shoot your attacker in the gut with a .22LR, and they then proceed to murder you, and then drive to their friend’s house, get patched up, but get infected and die three days later from peritonitis? Yes, the .22LR would have killed them — but it would have been useless in stopping them from attacking you."
con't.

DebS said...

Con't.

You should absolutely respect the .22LR. It is not a toy, it is a deadly cartridge — even from as tiny a firearm as a 1″-barrel micro-revolver. It definitely is a deadly cartridge, but it is no more deadly than any other cartridge, and, in many ways, it is less deadly. There is absolutely no terminal effect that a .22LR possesses, that a .380 doesn’t also have*. The .380 does everything the .22LR does, and it does it with much more energy, more mass, and larger size. And the 9mm does everything the .380 does, with even more energy, mass, and potentially larger expanded size. And the .40 does everything the 9mm does, with even more energy, mass, and larger size. Any of them (and, of course, the .45 and all other larger-than-.22 calibers) can kill just as easily as the .22LR can, but the key thing is that any of them are MORE LIKELY to kill (or injure or stop) a person, as the .22LR is.

*(see comment by Aaron below for an example of a unique terminal property of 22lr)

It’s not that the .22LR can’t stop someone, it’s a question of: is it MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to stop someone, than a larger caliber is? And the inescapable conclusion is: it’s LESS LIKELY than the bigger calibers are.

It’s not that it can’t do the job. It’s just that, owing to its tiny size and lower power levels, it is less likely to get the job done than the other, bigger calibers are. It really is that simple."

grimtraveller said...

St Circumstance said...

I need to go back and look at The Myth of Helter Skelter- Susans final version of things

Susan's supposed final book that she never got to finish seems to me to serve only 3 purposes and they are to blitz Charles Manson, Vincent Bugliosi and Linda Kasabian with every vitriolic bullet she can muster. Charlie, because she sees her life as wasted because of him and his dumb murders {and, one suspects, because he publicly criticized her body, saying she lost her shape after her baby was born and was unfuckable ~ a deadly thing to say to someone like Susan that by her own admission gobbled anything with a heart & genitalia}, Vinnie because he left her reputation in tatters as the crazy gal that stabbed the beautiful Sharon Tate and killed her unborn baby boy, tasted her blood and called her a bitch before killing a woman who begged for her life and Linda because she walked away scot free when Susan thought she should have felt the full force of the law if she had to.
So we see Charlie cast as far more of an evil, calculating, drug addicted bastard and domineering mastermind than Bugliosi has ever painted him, we see Bugliosi portrayed as an unscrupulous and ruthless Herman Göring that stops at nothing to nail a man, even if it means making up the motive; who also shrewdly manoeuvred her out of immunity so he could scale Linda in like the manoeuvring swine that he was and we see Linda slotted into the role of "identical in all respects to Susan so why is she free while I'm in jail given that everything I did, she did too ?"
It's really worth comparing this book with her actual autobiography. There are times when I wonder if Susan really did write the book. It's interesting in the same way Wikipedia can be interesting but it's risky always building your house on what's contained therein.

St Circumstance said...

I agree with that assessment :)

grimtraveller said...

Susan Atkins said...

it wasn’t until the trial started that Vincent Bugliosi finally found out about the suspected murder of Bernard Crowe

It was rumoured and suspected that Family members were slipping the women on trial acid {after all, Charlie was caught trying to smuggle up marijuana and a hacksaw blade while in the hall of justice jail} and I'm wondering what Susan had been on when she wrote this book, if indeed she did, because some of the inaccuracies contained that she bases some of her heavyweight points on, are glaring beyond belief.
Bugliosi knew about the "murder" of Lotsapoppa on 19th November '69. We know this because that's the day after he was assigned the case and he went out to Spahn looking for .22 shell casings. He had read DeCarlo's statement and knew that at least one of the crimes the .22 had been involved in was the one with "the Panther."
The trial didn't start until near the end of July 1970 so what on earth was she on about ?

Susan Atkins also said...

This suspected murder would have an incredible effect on the actions of Charles Manson, but by the time Vincent Bugliosi discovered it he was already selling Helter Skelter to a jury

Total bollocks. He knew about "the Panther killing" before HS started to take any kind of shape in his thinking.

Susan Atkins even said...

To have tried to change the purported motive at that point would have cost him his credibility in a case in which he was already stretching his credibility to the limit

It would be more accurate to say he gambled his credibility by going with trying to persuade the jury about HS, among other motives, when he didn't have to provide a motive at all.
But as has been pointed out so many times, all the evidence that came his way {including from her !} led in the direction of HS. Aaron Stovitz suspected it was the copycat but said he couldn't prove it and not a single person came to him or Bugliosi from the Family with it. Not even Leslie or Susan who had both admitted to murder or involvement in murder and had nothing to lose.

Susan Atkins actually said...

Apparently Watson convinced Crowe to give him the drugs, leaving his fiancé behind as security. Watson apparently told Crowe he would sell the drugs to a waiting buyer and then return immediately with the money

I know we all make mistakes and get little pieces of info wrong, but when you're involved in the shebang, you'd think that at least you'd get it right, especially if you are going to build a monolith on it.

Oh no she didn't ! Susan Atkins even said...

apparently he decided to abandon her and run off with the drugs

Apparently, every one with a passing interest in the case knows that this was a money scam and that Tex was to add $5000 to Lotsapoppa's $2700 within a few days, courtesy of a new member that Susan would one day write about in scarcely concealed bitter tones......except Susan !

Then Susan Atkins said...

Unfortunately the girl had heard Watson call some people earlier and she remembered the phone number

This seems so fanciful but I'm loath to slice Susan up any more because I actually have some regard for her and how she tried to make good in the end, even down, oh irony of ironies, to helping to save the life of a fellow inmate that had slit her wrists. So I'll just say that I suppose it could have happened like that.

grimtraveller said...

ziggyosterberg said...

Maybe someone who knows a lot about guns (grimtraveller?) can tell me why a hillbilly from Kentucky would think that he could kill a fat guy with a single shot to the stomach from a 22 caliber pistol?

Perhaps because it was a gun ? And guns are pretty pointless if they can't kill {that's all I know about guns !! I'm an igunoramus.....}.

I suddenly have this weird premonition that Grim will say that he knew a fat guy in Brixton or Luton who was shot in the stomach with a BB gun and died immediately

He wasn't fat, he was shot in the stomach, it was an air pistol, he didn't die and Hemel Hempstead is 10½ miles from Luton ! You can drive there in 15 minutes......

DebS said...

Robert Kennedy was killed by Sirhan Sirhan with a .22 caliber Iver-Johnson revolver. True, it was a head shot but it did manage to penetrate the skull.

Dreath said...

Grim said: He wasn't fat, he was shot in the stomach, it was an air pistol, he didn't die and Hemel Hempstead is 10½ miles from Luton ! You can drive there in 15 minutes......

Well played sir!

ziggyosterberg said...


Thanks Deb. Anecdotally, I did see a 22 caliber rifle kill a porcupine once. It took 3 shots to get it to stop moving. Maybe the guy wasn't a very good shot?

It's always best to go with the "all guns are dangerous" concept to be on the safe side. Even a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock can shoot your eye out if you're not careful.

BTW, when you say Sirhan Sirhan, don't you mean Eugene Thane Cesar? Which reminds me, where is Robert Hendrickson? I hope he hasn't gone all Hollywood and left us in the dust.

ziggyosterberg said...


St Circumstance said...

So you can take Susan and Tex's words for what they are worth. As they have aged and become more clear minded as adults- I tend to believe more of what they said then the testimony and statements that were given at the time- but I don't trust either one of them personally.

Me too. Liars and bullshitters abound in this story. It's like a game of telephone played by crazy people with speech impediments.


Dreath said...

And standing there after he shot a Panther in a room full of Panthers wasn't an even worse scenario? If Manson went there to 'shut up' a Panther before he could call for back-up....ah...why did he leave a handful of Panther witnesses and Luella/Rosina alive and steal one guy's coat so they could show up at the ranch and say 'that's the guy, the one wearing my coat'?

LOL. Somebody call the fashion police!!! That guy just stole my really cool buckskin fringed jacket after he shot my drug dealer friend!!


grimtraveller said...

He wasn't fat, he was shot in the stomach, it was an air pistol, he didn't die and Hemel Hempstead is 10½ miles from Luton ! You can drive there in 15 minutes......

Was he a member of the Bay City Rollers, by chance? I seem to recall a few incidents involving British musicians and air guns, though I couldn't name any of the people involved, I could swear that there have been a few....

St Circumstance said...

This beer is for you Ziggy ;)

Dreath said...

Ziggy....

Bay City Rollers reference: priceless.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=aaplw&p=Bat+City+Rollers#id=4&vid=93003b244416385dec482f5b6a413a3b&action=view

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

starviego said...


Forget Crowe. The documented fact is is that Charlie was talking HS long before that. The question here is what caused Manson's mind to go dark in late '68.

And why, if he repeatedly said the blacks were going to rise up, did he not even give them a chance to do their thing in the summer, according to his timeline, before proclaiming his need to kick it off.

http://www.cielodrive.com/paul-watkins-trial-testimony-morning.php
Q: So in the spring of 1969 at Gresham, in Canoga Park, he said, "Someone is going to have to show Blacky how to do it"; is that correct?
A: Yes.
Q: In late May, was it, 1969, at Spahn Ranch?
A: Yes.


Now here's the rest of the quote:

The Family, pg147 by Ed Sanders
"Something freaked Manson out in early 1969 enough for him to prepare for the end of Western Civilization. ...Manson had a hypnotic rap about how the modern blacks were arming themselves, how he, Manson, had talked to blacks in prison and he had learned of heavy arms caches here and there.

It all goes back to what happened in the Can. But that's another blank area on the Mansonia map, If the investigators and the DA didn't pay any attention to it, it didn't exist. But the truth lies in those unexplored areas, not in the police files.

ziggyosterberg said...


@St Circumstance - This is great iced tea.

@Dreath - If it's not Scottish it's crap!!! Doesn't everyone have a "Scottish Wall Of Fame" in their home? I wonder how many pints would it take to get Grim into a pair of tartan pants?

Anyone else notice that Matt and Robert Hendrickson are MIA? This was around the time when Matt was supposed to be taking a trip to Farm(ers)ville, for some God unknown reason. I'm picturing Matt and RH going there "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" style. Hope that RH brought his camera.

Back on topic. This is a great headline : Black To Testify Against Manson Direct and to the point. It makes me want to buy a subscription to the Sarasota Journal . Were they the paper that broke the "Pee-Wee Herman-jackin' it in public" story too?

Mr. Humphrat said...

What freaked Charlie out? Another possibility adding to the mix is the December '68 release of "Never Learn Not to Love" by the Beach Boys.

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
orwhut said...

ziggyosterberg said...

Maybe someone who knows a lot about guns (grimtraveller?) can tell me why a hillbilly from Kentucky would think that he could kill a fat guy with a single shot to the stomach from a 22 caliber pistol?

Ziggy,
I'm only just now reading your question, so I don't know whether this has been brought up. Somewhere I read Charlie's supposed explanation for this. The following may not be an exact quite. but it's how I remember it, " I don't know much about guns, I use dick". I wish I could remember where I read it.

ziggyosterberg said...


Hey, orwhut. I remember that quote too. Like you, I can't remember where he said that. Also, I think in the Bill Murphy interview he said something about not liking guns and preferring knives. Or maybe it was the Geraldo interview? I recall also, in one of the books perhaps, it was said that when Danny DeCarlo showed up and started bringing guns around the ranch, Manson admonished him, saying that they didn't need guns there, or words to that effect.

In the Charlie Rose interview he said "I passed through Haight-Ashbury. I threw my pistol off of that bridge over there....I got tired of carrying pistols. I thought 'Well, I don't need to shoot anybody. So I threw my pistol over'"

ziggyosterberg said...


It's been a long time since I read "Manson In His Own Words". This is from a poster on another site. Manson's (Nuel Emmons') description of the shooting sounds almost like self-defense. I don't recall hearing any other versions of the story where Lotsapoppa was choking Manson before he was shot :


"According to "Manson in his own words as told to Nuel Emmons", they got a call from Bernard "Lotsapoppa" Crowe to the ranch. Crowe was trying to get a hold of Charles "Tex" Watson, but Tex was out, so Manson got the call instead. Crowe, assuming he was speaking to Tex, said he has kidnapped Tex's old lady, and if he doesn't get the money from the grass he sold to Tex, he is going to cut her up and leave the pieces on his front yard. Manson replied that he is not Tex, and that Tex is out, but nobody needs to get cut up, and that he'll be over soon to straighten it up.

Manson left for the girl's apartment, where Crowe was, with Thomas "T.J." Walleman, T.J. brought along a Buntline .22 revolver. Outside the apartment Manson, fearing T.J. wouldn't be able to use the gun if push came to show, took the gun from T.J. At the apartment there were two white guys and the girl tied up and gagged on the bed. One of the white guys said to Manson and T.J. that Crowe would be right back. The guys didn't seem too hostile and there wasn't any tension. Manson made light of the situation and started clearing off a very clustered table. Seeing the guys weren't uptight, Manson went over and started untying the girl. One of the guys spoke up, "Crowe said to keep the girl tied." "Come on man," Manson replied, "where's your manhood? This girl can't out-muscle both of you. Besides, we need some coffee and she can make it for us." Manson finished untying the girl, told her to go into the bathroom and wash her tear-soaked face and then put the coffee on.

When Crowe came in, he asked the two white guys why the broad was walking around, and from Manson he asked where his money is and where was that other bastard (Tex). Manson said Tex is nowhere to be found, and as for the money, he would need a day or two to come up with it. Manson also asked Crowe to let the girl go, and said he would stand good for the money. Crowe said that he (Crowe) has some people (dealers) he has to answer to, and that Manson has four hours to get the money, and the girl stays. Manson begged for more time and that Crowe would let the girl go, but the more Manson begged, the more vicious and threatening Crowe became. Crowe was sitting in a chair, so Manson kneeled in front of him, begging. But the more Manson begged the more arrogant and threatening Crowe got, threatening to kill the girl just for fun. Manson took the gun from his belt, and handed it butt first to Crowe, saying "Hey man, if you have to take a life, take mine." As Crowe reached for the gun, Manson twirled the gun around so the handle rested in the palm of his hand and sprang to his feet. Manson stepped back and said "All right, you motherf**ker, I've begged, kissed your ass and promised - now I'm taking the girl out of here, and you can say goodbye to her, me and your dollars."

ziggyosterberg said...


continued...

(up to now I was paraphrasing, but I'm gonna quote the Crowe shooting scene directly from the book):

Crowe stood up and showed a lot of heart, saying, "You little white trash bastard, you ain't got the balls to shoot anyone. I'm going to take that gun from you and shove it up your ass. Then I'm going out to that commune of yours with all my partners and screw all those white trash bitches. And if I have to, I'm going to pin your eyes open with toothpicks and make you watch while your white whores suck my big black dick." He was taking steps forward as I backtracked. After a couple of steps, I pulled the trigger. CLICK, nothing happened. Crowe smiled and I thought, "Oh f**k, what now?" Crowe laughed and put his meaty hands around my throat. By now my back was up against the wall. He started squeezing and lifting me from the floor. I pulled the trigger again and got just another click - "Oh shit" - then once more I yanked on the trigger. Buried as it was in his stomach, the gun didn't make a loud report, but it was enough to change the whole atmosphere of the room.

Crowe raised up on his toes, his fingers tightened on my neck for the slightest instant, then relaxed as he slid down my body to the floor. The guy closest to me lunged toward me, but T.J. finally came to life and grabbed the guy around his neck and threw him back against the wall. He made no more efforts at being a hero and neither did the other guy.

After this, Manson told the two white guys to clean the apartment and get rid of the body. Then Manson and T.J. left, being sure that the girl would be safe now that Crowe was out of the way."

orwhut said...

Ziggy,
It's a pitty we don't have Kindle versions of all our reference material so we could search it. My memory is awful.

DebS said...

The bit about Crowe in Emmonds book, the hardcover edition, starts on page 177, orwhut.

Dreath said...

I have Helter Skelter, I Will Die for You, Atkins Grand Jury Testimony all on Kindle or at least a searchable PDF. I am also converting various documents to searchable format over time.

If anyone needs help in those send me an e-mail.

IF (and that is a big 'if') that story is true doesn't it sort of end the question whether they knew Crowe was not a Panther: "with all my partners", two white guys in the room?

grimtraveller said...

orwhut said...

It's a pity we don't have Kindle versions of all our reference material so we could search it

I rather enjoy going through the books looking for reference bits. I nearly always get carried away reading something that I wasn't intending to.

Ed Sanders wrote...

"Something freaked Manson out in early 1969..."

Why, I wonder, do we suppose that something in particular freaked Charlie out in early '69 ?

Mr. Humphrat said...

What freaked Charlie out? Another possibility adding to the mix is the December '68 release of "Never Learn Not to Love" by the Beach Boys

That said, that's a great shout. Maybe that whole royalty scam was the beginning of the countdown. Charlie had plenty to be pissed about going back 24 years. Being an acid head mind tripper who veered from incredible bouts of tender loving care to tempered outbursts of frustrated rage with scary unpredictability, maybe seeing his song changed jagged the fragile tension at play within his psyche a little more towards the darkness. Not a one time cause, but an imperceptible {though traceable in retrospect} and subtle shift in the direction of an increasingly fraught and apocalyptic moodswing....

Dreath said...

"with all my partners", two white guys in the room?

Like almost everything else attached to this saga, even the shooting of Bernard Crowe comes with alternative versions and mystery, like Tex referring to him as "Big Crow" even though the first time {supposedly} he met him was the night of the burn. When he testified during the penalty phase, Crowe said he was with 3 friends, all White guys and all from out of town. I recall one of them being called Steve. Lotsapoppa was such an embarrassment on the stand, and once Kanarek was given the opening by Judge Older to rip his credibility to shreds, he did. I'll say it again, it's a tragedy that Cats' site no longer exists because all the trial testimonies it housed were priceless to our kind.
But Gregg Jacobson had a totally different angle on the Crowe incident, claiming his mate had been present. It's impossible to know who is telling the truth.

Dreath said...

Grim said: "Why, I wonder, do we suppose that something in particular freaked Charlie out in early '69 ?"

PS: I stole the quote from Starveigo's post because it sounded cool.

My answer to your question is because the testimony of various witnesses tends to support the idea. After Manson returned New Years Eve HS becomes an immediate event. There is a sense of urgency that seems to start there and max out around May. I also don't think August was chosen by accident but I have absolutely no evidence to support that idea.

What was it? The White Album? Those LA murders? Too much dope? Nixon's election? Who knows.

orwhut said...

Deb,
Thanks for the page number.

orwhut said...

Dreath,
I suspect the "too much dope" theory played a part. Maybe Charlie had a low tolerance and that's part of the reason he took less than he gave others.

grimtraveller said...

orwhut said...

I suspect the "too much dope" theory played a part. Maybe Charlie had a low tolerance and that's part of the reason he took less than he gave others

It makes you wonder doesn't it ? I recall one jailhouse interview Charlie gave in which the interviewer was being a truly obnoxious, superior snot rag, but Charlie, clearly sedated {he said so too, actually}, was damn lucid and struggled to overcome the effect of the sedative ~ but in my opinion, he overcame it. At one point, the interviewer asked about him using LSD to control his followers, but Charlie said to him that he had it wrong, that acid may actually uncontrol the mind rather than make it controllable. I think the two often go hand in hand. It wasn't called the heaven and hell drug for nothing......

Dreath said...

I was only half kidding about the dope. The more I look at this the more I am beginning to believe Manson actually believed HS was, in fact, 'coming down fast'. I think LSD did play a role in that.

I recently read a article from an interview of Manson while he was waiting trial.

"If I were my own attorney I would explain [what was up]. You've heard of the Battle of Armageddon? I see it coming, and all I want to do is get out of the way but they're trying to stick an antichrist label on me."

It struck me, personally, because it was the closest I had read of Manson actually articulating a piece of HS to a non-Family related person at a time when he is waiting trial for murder.

ziggyosterberg said...


grimtraveller said...

But Gregg Jacobson had a totally different angle on the Crowe incident, claiming his mate had been present.


Did Jakobson ever say that or is that a misinterpretation (by Ed Sanders) that it now commonly accepted as fact? In the interview with Bugliosi he only said that he had heard it from Brian Lukas(hevsky) and Dennis, and that "word had come back to us" :


Jakobson - Well I suppose, to me, it reached it's greatest intensity when I heard of the conflict that had occured with a black man - that Manson had supposedly shot and killed him.

Bugliosi - What did he say about that?

Jakobson - Nah he didn't....in the beginning, I didn't really hear it from him, I heard it from other sources, from Brian Lukas(hevsky) and Dennis, and so on. Word had come back to us, y'know Charlie Manson he ..shot the man and kissed his feet. I didn't believe it about Charlie until they got to the part about kissing his feet and saying 'I love you brother' - that sounded like Charlie. And that the man was a...a syndicate dealer or something.


YouTube audio link from CieloDrive.com (Starts at 6:15)

Dreath said...

Grim said: "I'll say it again, it's a tragedy that Cats' site no longer exists because all the trial testimonies it housed were priceless to our kind."

I second that. Maybe we could convince her to give or even sell them to us.

Dreath said...

And looking at a map just now I hope any of us in Florida are safe.

Matt said...

My wife got out of FTL this morning safely on the very last flight. Grateful...

St Circumstance said...

I live between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale about 4 miles from beach. I am happy to report that we had no problems here and the strong has already passed by our are off coast. Good luck to my friends further North. I had cases of beer and a huge bag and was ready for days of no power. Instead - I'll be back to work tomorow. But I Amdre we got lucky.

St Circumstance said...

Pardon typos lol. Been doing shots and beers since early morning lol

orwhut said...

Congratulations St. Now you have all the fixins for an End of the World Party to dispose of.

St Circumstance said...

Lol. Mrs Matt posted some really great pics of the storm in distance on social media. She actually got out of here literally on last flight before they closed airport.

If you ever met Mrs. Matt you would be very happy to know she is safe. Amazing lady.

But I will end up as usual sleeping and not quite remembering but it id all good lol

Dreath said...

Matt: good news.

Saint: I spent my winter school breaks in Ft. Lauderdale from about 65-71. If there is still a Howard Johnsons on A1A about two blocks behind that. My grandfather had two condos there.

Sounds like you were prepared. In fact, it sounds like, perhaps you are 'over prepared'. I'm glad you are safe.

St Circumstance said...

I'm prepared and at my Ex wife who cruelly dumped me s place. It's inland and has all my pets. I'm absolutely hammered and going to bed. Thanks Dreath. And all. I too hope it is same for people everywhere else this storm goes.

Peace and Love

Panamint Patty said...

Yay

Panamint Patty said...

Nite nite termite

ziggyosterberg said...


Looks like the ne'er do wells have already started looting.


Here's one making his getaway.

MrsMatt said...

Aww, Saint! Thanks for the kind words. Hope you're still fine this morning…

St Circumstance said...

I'm hung over but good to go lol. I'm glad you got home ok. Those pics from plane were awsome. Enjoy the weekend :)

St Circumstance said...

By the way: this is off topic but I couldn't help noticing this while reading news this morning...


For a while earlier in the year, it seemed Leslie Van Houten might get what she wanted: Release from prison on parole. But the youngest disciple of the murderous Manson cult hit another roadblock Thursday in her bid for freedom.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan issued an 18-page ruling upholding the governor’s reversal earlier in the year of a parole board’s decision to release Van Houten.
ADVERTISING

There is “some evidence” that Van Houten still presents an unreasonable threat to society, Ryan wrote, adding that he respects Gov. Jerry Brown’s broad discretion in such decisions.

Now 67 and living at a women’s prison in Chino, Van Houten was convicted of first-degree murder in 1978 and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Dreath said...

Poor draw:

"Bruce Davis' record shows there is "some evidence" he is dangerous and shouldn't be freed, Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan wrote in a decision filed Wednesday." April 23, 2015

Seems this judge doesn't like Manson-murders.

grimtraveller said...

ziggyosterberg said...

Did Jakobson ever say that or is that a misinterpretation (by Ed Sanders) that it now commonly accepted as fact?

What I meant by the completely different angle was that his friend/associate Bryn/Brian had been present. When Lotsapoppa testified, he gave the names of the people that were there and Jacobson's mate wasn't one of them.

St Circumstance said...

If you ever met Mrs. Matt you would be very happy to know she is safe

Even never having her and knowing nothing about her, I'm glad she's safe.
We're rather cuccooned from such things in London, even when England has the shit flooded out of it, we miss it in London. Even when towns 8 miles outside London get flooded, we miss it here. But I don't take hurricanes that wipe out 340 people lightly. I wouldn't wish such on anybody, the "good," the "bad" or the ugly.....

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

The more I look at this the more I am beginning to believe Manson actually believed HS was, in fact, 'coming down fast'. I think LSD did play a role in that

Every so often, down the years, people have asked various protagonists whether they believe Charlie really believed HS. I think he did. George says in his book Charles Manson of course refutes the idea that HS was the motive for the murders. But he doesn't refute HS itself. In a phone conversation with me, Manson said "we had a HS thing going. We had the proposition of the thoughts that we talk about now." I told him that I would not be surprised if he & his friends had talked about some sort of HS scenario, even with all the weird details. "Yeah," he replied. "It was in the social consciousness. The Beatles were singing Why don't we do it in the road ?"

I think he believed it, that it was there in microcosm and moving very slowly, but that it needed accelerating. Not unlike Abraham in the Old Testament thinking he could speed up God's plan to grant him a son by getting his wife's maid pregnant. That caused centuries of trouble ! Not unlike some of our recent western leaders thinking they could kick start or move along change in the Muslim world with some of the interference in Iraq and in particular Libya. History has a number of such examples, many of them disastrous. As a Christian, I know the power of belief and seeing things that others simply don't accept as remotely sensible, let alone real. If you add LSD into the mix, you're dealing with something incredibly powerful, an unpredictable cocktail, the fallout from which may take years to control, if it ever really is ever controllable.
I've said it before, but I think once it became obvious that Blackie wasn't being brutalized for the TLB murders {quite how particular ill treatment and shooting of Black people would differ from much of the norm, I'd love to know !} Charlie disavowed his prophecy because it was....embarrassing. HS strikes me as something that came to Charlie incrementally, bit by bit, the way prophecy or "Godly" insight tends to. Almost out of one's control, unless it's deliberately nefarious, a la Koresh & Jones.
In the Christian scene, certain people are accepted as prophets hearing from God {remaining ignorant of the fact that all believers should develop prophecy, not just a privileged few and that it's the responsibility of the whole church to weigh and test any and every prophecy to determine whether it's right or crap} and one thing I've noticed over a 30 year period is so rarely do they ever get held accountable for things they claim they've heard from God that turn out not to be so. No apology, no asking for forgiveness, no admittance of getting it wrong. When Charlie was asked by Bugliosi when he thought the Blacks were taking over and he said that he may have put a clog in matters, that, as Bugliosi put it "the trial alerted Whitey," it was like he was letting himself down gently. I think in the year previous he'd been plain embarrassed by HS, especially once the media and prosecution and then the general public got hold of it. Believing in HS was never going to play well in jails that had those with Black Panther & Muslim sympathies as well as members of the Aryan Brotherhood in them......

grimtraveller said...

grimtraveller said...

Even never having her

I'm not really a cyberspace lothario. That should have read Even never having mether.

Dreath said...

Bay City Rollers

A totally underrated band. Their second and third albums, "Once upon a star" and "Wouldn't you like it ?" are classics. They, like the Monkees, are one of those bands whose name conjours up all manner of shame in admitting you like their stuff but belies the truly gorgeous pop-rock and innovative stuff that they recorded. I'm not embarrassed. I would have been in 1976 though !

ziggyosterberg said...


I wonder how many pints would it take to get Grim into a pair of tartan pants?

You don't know what I got !
I'll say this though; between '67 and '69 you could have gotten me into tartan anything very very easily.......

St Circumstance said...

You are right Grim... that came out wrong. But I was hammered and just trying to be complimentary to Mrs. Matt cause I dig her.

Also in the news today- the LA times did a "where are they now" article. It sucks and doesn't mention George and Sandy :(


http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-charles-manson-murders-where-they-are-now-snap-htmlstory.html

grimtraveller said...

"That should have read Even never having met her."

Mind the gap !

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

it was the closest I had read of Manson actually articulating a piece of HS to a non-Family related person at a time when he is waiting trial for murder

In this Rolling Stone article there is so much that he and the Family say that demonstrate that much of his mindset, even during March 1970 is pretty much as reported and commented on by others that knew him.

ziggyosterberg said...

Did Jakobson ever say that or is that a misinterpretation (by Ed Sanders) that it now commonly accepted as fact?

In the same Rolling Stone article, Gregg Jacobson {like Aaron Stovitz} uses a pseudonym and says this, among other things:
Also, he supposedly shot a spade in the stomach in Topanga. A friend called me up and said, "You know that crazy guy Charlie? He shot some spade in the stomach, then took his jacket, bent over, kissed his feet and said, 'I love you, brother.'" And I said, "That sounds like Charlie, all right."
None of this was reported to the police. This guy was a dealer, a big syndicate dealer, a real out and out criminal dealer who dealt everything. So these people wouldn't report it to the police; they just take care of it themselves. Charlie figured these people would be after him immediately. The spade lived, incidentally. This was early in the summer of '69, when Charlie was collecting weapons and hanging out with the motorcycle people
.

It's an eye popping article and I'm intrigued that more has not been made of it over the years.

ziggyosterberg said...


grimtraveller said...

What I meant by the completely different angle was that his friend/associate Bryn/Brian had been present. When Lotsapoppa testified, he gave the names of the people that were there and Jacobson's mate wasn't one of them.


Are you retracting your statement that Jakobson was "claiming his mate had been present" at the Lotsapoppa shooting? Or do you still contend that he has made that claim?

As far as the RS article goes - yes eye popping. Odd that Jakobson thought that the shooting had occurred in Topanga - rarely if ever, mistaken for Hollywood. Not exactly close by either. It's roughly the distance from Shepherd's Bush to Saint Albans (or Hemel Hempstead).

The latter part of the quote could be a hint at who the original source of the "word had come back to us" of the shooting might be, and may also answer the question of "What Freaked Out Charlie?" :

None of this was reported to the police. This guy was a dealer, a big syndicate dealer, a real out and out criminal dealer who dealt everything. So these people wouldn't report it to the police; they just take care of it themselves. Charlie figured these people would be after him immediately. The spade lived, incidentally. This was early in the summer of '69, when Charlie was collecting weapons and hanging out with the motorcycle people.

grimtraveller said...

OpenID ziggyosterberg said...

Are you retracting your statement that Jakobson was "claiming his mate had been present" at the Lotsapoppa shooting? Or do you still contend that he has made that claim?

No, I'm not retracting it. When I say "his mate" I'm just referring to someone that he knew, not his bosom buddy. I was surprised, I must say, that the shooting was claimed to have been in Topanga. Right from the kick off, it would appear that "alternative information" was being put about where Charlie was concerned ! So maybe some of what we see today isn't particularly unusual.
All that aside, it's noteworthy the way news travelled in the underworld considering there was supposed to be a no snitching code of honour.

St Circumstance said...

Also in the news today- the LA times did a "where are they now" article

It's not bad as articles go on this subject. It's got some odd little bits in it though, like stating Leslie was convicted of holding down Rosemary while an accomplice stabbed her or implying that the last anything was heard of Linda was in 1994 when we've been furiously debating her 2009 documentary appearance since then and also presenting as fact that the reason she was at the murders was because she was the only one with a valid licence {suspect, given that Manson drove home alone on LaBianca night} or that Shorty was killed before the TLB murders.
Otherwise, for someone that knows nothing about the case, it's a pretty snappy and informative intro. The bit that stood out to me is something Pat said in 2014: “The thing I try to remember sometimes is that what I am today is not what I was at 19.” I agree with that.....but she wasn't 19 in '69.

Dreath said...

Grim, thanks for the link. I remember reading that at some point, now, but completely blanked the actual Manson comments.

ziggyosterberg said...


grimtraveller said...

No, I'm not retracting it. When I say "his mate" I'm just referring to someone that he knew, not his bosom buddy.


I like how you keep moving the goalposts with each answer. I suppose eventually you're going to say that the "mate" of Jakobson's at the shooting was Charlie, and that's what you really meant when you said "his mate....his friend/associate Bryn/Brian.. someone that he knew, not his bosom buddy".


grimtraveller said...

All that aside, it's noteworthy the way news travelled in the underworld considering there was supposed to be a no snitching code of honour.


Yeah, word of the shooting probably travelled through the underworld back to Dennis Wilson (snicker). Or Dennis' buddy Bryan was at the shooting (double snicker). Or one of Jakobson's mates (but not his bosom buddy) was at the shooting (snicker hat trick).


Know any bands from Luton? - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

grimtraveller said...

ziggyosterberg said...

I like how you keep moving the goalposts with each answer

They call me Hissssssing Sid......
"He moves about from side to side
With movements like a snake
And when you think he's fast asleep......he's faster wide awake !"

starviego said...



http://murderpedia.org/male.M/m/manson-charles.htm
On March 23, 1969, Manson entered, uninvited, upon 10050 Cielo Drive ...
Manson was met by Shahrokh Hatami, a photographer and Tate's friend. ... Manson, without a word, went back to the guest house, returned a minute or two later, and left. ... That evening, Manson returned to the property and again went back to the guest house. ... he spoke with Rudi Altobelli

Manson's visit was used by Bugliosi to show Charlie was familiar with the residence prior to the murders, which may have contributed to his choosing that location.

But if Charlie was already planning HS in the spring, as the evidence shows, is it possible he went up to "case the joint" prior to the crime?






DebS said...

It's possible that Charlie went to Altobelli's to find out where Melcher had moved. That seems like a more reasonable explanation if he bypassed Hatami and went straight to the guest house, if what Bugliosi wrote is true. We have been told that Charlie knew where Melcher had moved but I don't think we know when Charlie knew it.

starviego said...

The LaBianca residence had also reportedly been invaded several times before the murders by unknown intruders. Was it burglars? Or was the residence being creepy-crawled? Or was Waverly Drive also being "cased" beforehand by the killers?

orwhut said...

DebS said... We have been told that Charlie knew where Melcher had moved but I don't think we know when Charlie knew it.

Can someone please help me out here. I recall a movie where Charlie left a bullet at the beach house where Melcher was staying. If someone can name the movie my feeble brain can work on more important problems.

ziggyosterberg said...


grimtraveller said...

With so many of Jakobson's mates at the Lotsapoppa shooting - Charlie, Bryn, Tex stopped by earlier, other possible assorted mates and various un-bosom buddies - I believe that the Lotsapoppa shooting was the result of a surprise birthday party for Gregg Jakobson gone bad. Lotsapoppa ran out of party favours, and we know that Charlie loves his zuzus.


Interesting....

grimtraveller said...

Blimey, the things that grim comes out with, eh ?