Monday, May 7, 2018

MansonBlog Tour 2018: The Back Ranch at Spahn


On Spahn Ranch Day we joined a group that was already planning to tour the ranch. They were involved with the history of the ranch dating back to Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.



Along for the hike was Michael Channels (TMZ's "Manson's Pen Pal"). You may be aware that many years ago he found bones at the Donald Shea burial site. The History Channel recently paid to test to see if they were human. They were. Channels also found by the Shea site was this old pipe wrench. There will be more on the wrench in upcoming posts.



The group eventually broke up into three separate groups according to interest. My small group was interested mostly in the back ranch area. The ranch was over 500 acres so there is a lot to cover. It also requires being able to hike up steep hills.

MY goal though was to see the high cliffs. To get there involves some very steep climbing over boulders and crags. It's not for everyone. The route is determined by where the poison oak is least dense, so we had to be creative. You also need to be constantly on guard for rattlesnakes. You don't want to surprise them.

Only a select group was willing to make the trek up to the cliffs. Our guide for that portion was Anthony and his very agile dog Zimmerman. Gratitude to them for getting us up there.



It involved climbing over boulders, jumping across gaps and squeezing through caves:





BUT, the reward was spectacular views of Spahn from the highest points possible. It was a beautiful sunny and breezy day. You are so high up at the cliffs that you can't hear anything. It's just pure Spahn:






Later we rejoined the group down at the LIFE magazine cave for refreshments (It was "4/20" after all).



No caption needed




24 comments:

Robert C said...

Mucho Natl. Geo shots and hail, hail the gang is almost all there (where's St. C. ? ;-) but .... that pipe wrench needs to be interrogated like exactly where was it on the night of Shorty's disappearance ? Actually, could they really have been so stupid as to toss the wrench near the body ?

Robert C said...

And .... is that John A-N in the last pic ?

DebS said...

St. C bowed out of the mansonblog shortly after Charlie died.

Robert, I think they could have been cocky enough to have tossed the murder weapon down the embankment. Whether or not that wrench was the weapon is up for discussion.

Yes, that is John A-N in the last pic!

Orwhut said...

Matt,
Were the Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson ever at the ranch or were you referring to movies/TV shows about them?

AstroCreep said...

I watched the tv program about the bone and wrench- Super interested to hear more about it. I can’t imagine why it would be located in a wash close to where the remains of Shorty were found other than it’s possible involvement in the actual murder.

It’s also interesting to see current photos from the ranch. The scale is off from what I picture in my mind- that based on old photos from when the family lived there. And in the old pics, there’s a certain level of creepiness that doesn’t exist in the new pics.

stoner van houten said...

ORWHUT ...yes wyatt earp and bat marterson have set foot at spahn ranch ( its was called the hart ranch when they were there) ..william s. hart hired them to make sure that the cowboy movies that william was making were authentic looking...it was at the last part of there lives...william s hart was a pallbearer at wyatt earps funereal

Robert C said...

DebS -- I was being a little tongue in cheek --- was aware of St. C's circumstances and departure but still always imagine him at each and every MansonBlog Tour sort of like he kind of belongs there in the cast :-)

The wrench in the pic certainly looks like it could have been out there for that long. But how the upper jaw and thumb adjuster came off is kinda weird. Well, fodder for future discussion.


Peter said...

Pretty sure if you open up a wrench all the way, the upper jaw just comes right out and the adjuster falls off because there is nothing to hold it on place.

beauders said...

It wouldn't surprise me at all if that wrench was the involved in the Shea murder, these guys were not all that bright about leaving evidence around. Remember Manson spent 10 years in prison for stealing a $35.00 check out of a mail box. When he was released from prison they gave him $30.00 so in all reality he lost 10 years for $5.00. I love it when people tell me Manson was a criminal mastermind, what a joke.

Robert C said...

Peter -- yes it will all come apart deliberately but the weird thing is why did it occur with this wrench (it would usually take a person doing it intentionally) -- I can't even imagine the top jaw and adjuster coming off even if using to clobber someone.

beauders --- dead on ....

Peter said...

Clean it up and bring it to Scramblehead's next concert and just ask him.

orwhut said...

Stoner,
It's good to see you back on the blog and thank you for the information. I was child and Hugh O'Brian and Gene Barry portrayed those two gentlemen on television and thought parts of their shows might have been filmed at Spahn. Having the originals at the ranch is even better.c
Whut

Rock N. Roll said...

Yay Stoner!

Peter said...

Burt Reynolds to play George Spahn.

Dan S said...

They probably come off the same way the grips on a buntline come off

Dan S said...

Irie 'ights!

AustinAnn74 said...

I, for one am so, so happy Spahn ranch was never developed & ruined by greedy real estate developers. I am also happy it is a state park and people such as Stoner Van Houten help care for it. Beautiful place! It looks a little bit like the ranch I work on, except we have a spring fed river to swim in on hot days. Nice photos. Unbelievable about that wrench too.

DebS said...

Adam Parfrey passed yesterday. He was involved with the original "The Manson File" (1988) with John Aes-Nihil, Boyd Rice, Nick Bougas, Jack Stevenson and others.

Parfrey was the founder of Amok Press and currently has Feral House Publishing. John Aes-Nihil told me he suffered a stroke, falling down stairs in the process resulting in water on his brain.

http://deadline.com/2018/05/adam-parfrey-dies-feral-house-publisher-author-and-editor-of-forbidden-knowledge-was-61-1202388142/

Brian G said...

So much history before Manson gave it a black eye. I hadn't realized Spahn made a good living off the place before Manson moved in. Everything I'd read made me believe the place was going under before they got there.

GreenWhite said...

Awesome photos and post as always. They must have been fit as fiddles living there.

Logan said...

Sad to learn of Adam Parfrey's death. Incredible publisher, writer, editor & journalist. From his work in the EXIT and Esoterra magazines (just to name two) to the many fascinating & obscure texts (both original & reprinted) which Feral House, Process Media & Amok brought to a wider audience, his work was and remains a godsend to anyone interested in conspiracies, niche subcultures, neglected pockets of history, and the bizarre.
His work will continue to speak for itself as the 21st century lurches further into insanity. ❤

Zelda Formaldehyde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zelda Formaldehyde said...

Great pictures. Spahn is pretty much at the top of the list of TLB haunts I'd like to visit ..... you know, like next year.

tinkse7en ! said...

I should not come out of lurker mode, but it does occur to me that someone (Clem, I guess) made a futile effort to clean the wrench, & in doing so, unscrewed it all the way off, rendering it useless.

Then tossed it down the slope. *shrug* As likely as everything else in this case.