Monday, June 25, 2018

The Coffee Heiress (Part One)

“The Coffee Heiress” 

The Coffee Heiress 1961
Enter this search on, say, Newspapers.com: Abigail Folger. Then limit the date range to 1969. Practically every article you will find sums up Abigail Folger’s life in a brief paragraph that almost always includes those three words. To me this places her in the same category as “The Caretaker’s Friend”: a victim who has been largely forgotten.

Little has been written about her. Unlike Sharon Tate, there are no books about her life. Passages about her in anything that discusses the crime are brief and usually focus on the drug angle. To the best of my knowledge no member of her family has ever appeared at a parole hearing on her behalf even though her brother and half sister are both alive. 

At times I think the victims fall through the cracks as we study the ‘motive’ or ‘look at the evidence’. And I feel, unfortunately, that only a small number of people outside this blog even know the name, Abigail Folger. Probably far more people know the name of her murderer, Patricia Krenwinkel. And next year, on the 50th anniversary of these crimes, Abigail will likely become “The Coffee Heiress” once again. 

“Heiress”. In the media this is not particularly positive label.  For me the arrogant first class passengers portrayed in a movie Titanic or Paris Hilton come to mind. "Heiress" is perhaps not as bad as "Princess" but it falls into the same category. I think the label is unfortunate because I have always had a special place in my heart for Abigail Folger. She fought back. She is, at the risk of offending someone, my favorite victim. 

So here is what I have been able to piece together about Gibbie. 

Let's start right there. It is 'Gibbie' not 'Gibby' no matter how many times it is written the wrong way. We know this because she was the editor of her high school yearbooks. The images below (and the one above) come from those yearbooks. I think we can safely assume the editor spelled her own nickname correctly when it appeared dozens of times over the course of three years.

Her Childhood


She was born Abigail Anne Folger on August 11, 1943. She was known simply as ‘Gibbie’ by friends. 

Her parents, Peter and Ines Folger, married on May 6, 1933. 

Peter Folger, her father, was born in 1905. He was the paternal grandson of the founder of the Folger Coffee Company. He attended Yale University where he was a scholar athlete and later served in World War II. He was 38 when Gibbie was born and was on active duty at the time of her birth.

Her mother, Ines Mejia Folger (known as simply, ‘Pui’ to her friends) was born June 25, 1907 in Piedmont, California. She was the sixth and youngest child of Encarnacion and Gertrude Mejia, both of whom were born in El Salvador. Several sources list her mother as ‘Encarnacion’. They are wrong. 

Ines’ father was a consul general for El Salvador. A ‘consul general’ serves as a representative who speaks on behalf of his or her country in the country where he or she is located, although the ultimate spokesperson is the ambassador. He was sort of a vice ambassador. His position gave him access to business dealings between US corporations and his homeland. These connections also made him quite wealthy. One of those connections could very well have been Folgers Coffee. 

Ines attended high school at the Convent in Menlo Park but she never received a diploma. In the spring of her senior year she was caught helping a classmate elope. 
_____

“Friends described Ms. Folger as the center of attention and the liveliest person in any room. A voracious reader, she was curious about a wide range of topics and had opinions on virtually any idea that was raised at a dinner table.”
*****

“The San Francisco native guided generations by example for decades, living life with enthusiasm, curiosity and a large measure of gusto while overcoming a very public and horrifying tragedy, friends said.”
*****

“"I just don't know how she got through it [Abigail’s murder],”said Joan Chatfield-Taylor, a friend of Ms. Folger's over five decades. "She was open about talking about it. And she never lost her sense of humor. It helps when you have one million friends," Chatfield-Taylor said.” 

(“Ines Mejia Folger - Socialite Lived with Zest”, Jill Tucker, SF Gate, July 27, 2007)
_____


There seems to be a lot of Ines in Abigail. They shared an interest in learning, art, books (especially, books), music and each demonstrated a desire to help those less fortunate then themselves and a certain political activism. There was in those days a belief that the wealthy owed something to the country because of their wealth. It needn't be a liberal belief but it existed back then. FDR, JFK, Rockefeller and others didn't need to take the pay cut of elected office.

For example, Ines volunteered at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in 1967 and 1968. She held fund raisers for the clinic and was instrumental in securing a grant that was critical to its operations. She later described her work there as giving her 'tremendous satisfaction'.

She wasn't the only one to volunteer at the clinic in those days.

"Kathy Grant Crosby came from her Hillsborough mansion to volunteer her nursing skills for three nights running. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy came in after their stage show to volunteer in any way they could and when the night was over left a generous donation."

(Sturges, Clark S., Dr. Dave: A Profile of David E. Smith, M.D, Founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics (Kindle Locations 572-573). Devil Mountain Books. Kindle Edition.)

Ines passed away on July 15, 2007 at the age of 100. Her obituary requested that donations be made to the Abigail Folger Library Fund at the Santa Catalina School, a fund she and Peter established after the death of their daughter (perhaps with Gibbie's assets). 

In 1952 Peter Folger and Ines were divorced. Ines claimed ‘mental cruelty’ in her divorce petition. Some sites emphasize this point suggesting her father may have been abusive. I can tell you that the allegation was the ‘no fault’ allegation when ‘fault’ divorce still existed in California. An argument or a raised voice could be deemed 'mental cruelty'. It was the equivalent, today, of ‘irreconcilable differences’. 

In the divorce Ines was awarded $100,000 in cash and ‘other property’ and $200 per month child support for the two children. 

From what I was able to determine Peter and Ines remained on relatively good terms following the divorce and shared joint custody of their two children: Abigail and Peter (born in 1945). 

On June 30, 1960 Peter married his then, 24 year-old, secretary, Beverly Mater. Abigail, seven years younger than Ms. Mater, did not attend the wedding. Abigail’s half-sister, Elizabeth, was born seven months later on January 28, 1961. 

In 1963 Peter traded the family stock in The Folger Coffee Company to Proctor and Gamble for stock in P&G. He continued to serve as CEO of Folgers, now a P&G subsidiary, until his death from prostate cancer in 1980. 

Some sources claim that following Abigail’s murder Peter Folger conducted his own investigation. I was unable to confirm that claim. 

The official narrative also claims that Peter Folger used his legal team to threaten anyone who dared write about the circumstances surrounding Abigail’s murder, especially if those articles contained salacious gossip. Again, I was unable to find any evidence of this. In fact, several articles that appeared at or near the time of the murders were less than flattering about Abigail, blaming her death on drug use, placing her in a crowd of ‘rich hippies’ and mentioning 'hippie underworld' drug connections. 

As a child Abigail rode horses, read books (voraciously), travelled to Europe and El Salvador and learned to play the piano. When Abigail spent time with her father it would have been at The Folger Estate in Woodside, California (pictured below). 

Her mother, at least by the time she graduated from high school, lived in an apartment at 1450 Taylor Street in San Francisco (the blue building, below). 

Abigail traveled to El Salvador in 1958 and 1960, Paris and London in 1961 (in Paris she commissioned her dress for her Debutante Cotillion), and London, again, in 1962.

The Santa Catalina School for Girls


Gibbie attended the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California. The school is an ‘all girls’, Catholic, school (currently, the lower school is co-ed). According to the school’s website, some ‘lower school’ (grades 1-8) girls boarded at the school during the 1950’s. Gibbie either was one of the boarders or traveled an hour and a half one way to get to and from school every day. The girls in grades 9-12 boarded at the school. 

Gibbie was an active and popular young woman. There is, surprisingly, no mention of her in her freshman year, yearbook, although she was there in 1957-8 but she appears in the next three. 

Sophomore Year 1958-1959

















Junior Year 1959-1960





In August 1960 there was a fire at the Folger estate that started due to a short in an electrical cord of a “hi-fi” record player in Abigail’s bedroom. Her father, stepmother and brother, then 15, controlled the fire with buckets of water and fire extinguishers until the arrival of the fire department. Abigail is not mentioned in the article as having been present. (San Mateo Times, August 1, 1960)

Senor Year 1960-1961






Abigail is still remembered at the Santa Catalina School. As recently as 2015 several individuals and one business made donations to the school in her memory. 






Radcliffe College


Following her graduation from high school in 1961 Gibbie attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For those who don’t know, Radcliffe College at the time was the ‘all girls’ neighbor college of Harvard College, which was an ‘all boys’ college. The two colleges have since merged and Radcliffe College no longer exists. 

Abigail’s high school senior picture (above) appears in the 1965 Radcliffe Freshman Register. 

[Aside: The year ‘1965’ refers to the ‘class of ‘65’. The register was actually published in August of 1961, before her freshman year.]

Radcliffe Student Directories from the time indicate that Abigail lived in Moors Hall her freshman year, Whitman Hall her sophomore year and then at 12 Walker Street in 1963-64 and 1964-65 her junior and senior years (#12 is the left half of the building pictured, below). 

Moors Hall-Whitman Hall-Walker Street
During her freshman year in college Abigail Folger had her ‘coming out’ party at the San Francisco Debutante Cotillion on December 27, 1961. The event was held at the Sheraton Palace Hotel. Two thousand guests attended the ball. Here, as the phrase went at the time among her peers, Abigail was ‘presented’ to society and literally curtsied to the adults present. More to the point, she was now 'officially' an eligible (and wealthy) young woman. Her escort that night was William Mackenzie. She wore white (not yellow as some sources claim). (Oakland Tribune, December 28, 1961 pp 21 and the San Mateo Times, December 28, 1961, pp 7). 

[Aside: There is a continuing suggestion from several sources that yellow was Gibbie's favorite color. Some cite her 'yellow Camaro' as proof. I found nothing that suggested her favorite color was yellow and, of course, her car was a Firebird.]

During her stay at Radcliffe, Abigail was active in the  Gilbert and Sullivan Players, a theater group. As a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players she appeared in ‘The Sorcerer’ on April, 19-20 and 24-27, 1963 (her sophomore year) and ‘The Gondoliers’ on December, 11-14, 1963 (her Junior year). In both performances she was in the chorus.

This image to the right has been floating around the internet for some time and purports to be Abigail in the Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of The Sorcerer. It is, indeed, an image from the 1963 Radcliffe yearbook and appears there on page 38.

Unfortunately, this is not Abigail Folger. 

If you don’t know the operas, I can tell you that the ‘costume’ is wrong for a Gilbert and Sullivan production. This young woman is wearing a ‘flapper’ costume, consistent with a Cole Porter production also performed that year by a different theatrical group. 

The image to the left is from an article reviewing ‘The Sorcerer’ performed by The Lamplighters in San Francisco in 2013. (Philip G Hodge, sanfranciscosplash.com, March 28, 2013.) Note the costumes. 

To the right, however, is an image from the performance of The Gondoliers in December 1963 from the 1964 Radcliffe Yearbook (page 130). Again, note the costumes. The person I have enlarged could be Gibbie. If not, she should be in that picture, somewhere. 

‘The Sorcerer’ received good marks from a critic at the Harvard Crimson, although, as a member of the chorus she is not specifically mentioned.

“The support of the central cast never waned. Lady Sangazure (Susan Bly), Sir Marmaduke (Lucian Russell), the Counsel (Philip Hartman), the Page (Jeffrey Cobb), and the chorus all added fine moments to the show.” 

(Joel Cohen, The Sorcerer, The Harvard Crimson, April 19, 1963)

Mr. Cohen was not nearly as enthusiastic about ‘The Gondoliers’. 

“Yet there were problems. Players and not only minor ones, watched the conductor far too much and far too obviously, instead of listening to the orchestra. They consistently fell behind the tempi, generally correct, set by conductor James Hughes. 

The orchestra had its own problems. If it tuned at all, the effect was not observable; at times, intonation was painfully bad, though spirits were always high. Between numbers, it paused instead of maintaining the ridiculous pace that makes Gilbert and Sullivan exciting.”

(The Gondoliers, Joel E. Cohen, The Harvard Crimson, December 6, 1963)

Abigail’s senior thesis was entitled “Politics in the Plays of Christopher Marlow”. Not what I would call 'light' reading. If you go to Harvard you can read it in the archives of the Schlesinger Library. It is not available on line. 

Abigail Folger graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1965. 


Some sources suggest that Gibbie transferred to Harvard following her graduation from Radcliffe and obtained an advanced degree there in Art History. I was not able to find any reference to Abigail either attending Harvard or receiving an advanced degree there in Art History. I also was not able to find a cite (or link) to a source document or any corroborating website by those making this claim. 

While Harvard’s official website and other Harvard-related sites spend a considerable amount of time noting that women were first admitted to Harvard’s College of Education in the 1920’s, Harvard did not admit women, generally, until 1977 when Radcliffe was finally merged into Harvard. This was long after Abigail. Even Yale didn't admit  women until 1969. Harvard’s official position during the 14 years it took to merge the two schools- Harvard and Radcliffe- was that ‘the women of Radcliffe’ wanted to be in a separate college. Images from protests in the 1970’s suggest this explanation was somewhat less than accurate.

I believe the information about an advanced degree from Harvard may be the result of some confusion. First, if you look at the image above regarding her thesis it indicates her college as Harvard and also identifies her degree as being from Harvard. This is because by the time her thesis was catalogued for the internet, Radcliffe no longer existed as a separate college. 

Second, her degree is typically described by writers as a ‘bachelor of art history’. There were only two undergraduate degrees at Harvard or Radcliffe at the time: bachelor of arts (AB) and bachelor of sciences (SB). Her major was English, which is a bachelor of arts degree but could be mistaken for a a bachelor of art ‘history’ degree. 

Abigail's Search Begins


Articles written about Abigail following her murder, on opposite sides of the country, quoted those who knew her saying that she was searching for something at the time of her death. (Heiress’s Search for Life Led to Death, UPI, Independent Press telegram, August 17, 1969) (She Had Everything to Live For, Michael Hanrahan, The New York Daily News, August 15, 1969) 

Gibbie does appear to have embarked upon a search for meaning in her life after she graduated from Radcliffe; vacillating between the 'fast lane' of Hollywood and the music world and more intellectual pursuits. Maybe, like many others, she gained a new perspective on life or a certain rebelliousness while she was a student at Radcliffe. Maybe after 8+ years of all girls’ schools and debutante balls she wanted something different. At the same time it does appear to me that Abigail was a rather conflicted young woman. Perhaps she was torn between what she was 'supposed' to do (given her family) and what she 'wanted' to do. Maybe she longed to do what other's her age were doing. In the image above she would be 24 and yet, to me, she appears much older. 

After graduation Abigail continued to appear on the ‘society pages’. In 1966 she was a bride’s maid in the wedding of Shella McBean and Philip Howard along with Mrs. Randolf Hearst II. Ms. McBean was in the same 1961 Debutante Cotillion as Gibbie in December 1961 and was likely a friend. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 30, 1966, pp 10). She also makes an appearance on the ‘society pages’ on August 5, 1966 in the San Mateo Times attending a symposium for women on Cervantes and Don Quixote with a who’s who of women from, San Francisco, society. 

Her last appearance in the society pages occurs in January 1968. She attended the wedding of her brother, Peter, in New York City where she was, again, a brides’ maid to Peter’s bride, Barbara Briggs Waterman. Ms. Briggs Waterman was a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. For you CIA-Manson conspiracy buffs the article also indicates that Peter Jr., a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps at the time, was stationed at Quantico, Virginia. (“Peter M. Folger Claims Bride in New York City”, San Mateo Times, January 23, 1968, pp. 6). 

Gibbie returned to San Francisco after her graduation from Radcliffe in 1965. She obtained employment at the University of California Berkeley, Art Museum doing what we. today, would call public relations. She was employed there, at least through the spring of 1967. 

[Aside: The University of California Berkeley Art Museum is about a ten, minute walk from the library where Mary Brunner was employed at about the same time and about an 11 minute walk from Sather Gate where Brunner first met Charles Manson in 1967. As you can see, the art museum is west of the other two locations and likely not on any route Abigail may have taken to get to or from work. However, this is the first of several coincidences that place Gibbie near locations or with people associated with the Manson storyline. One other, of course, is the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic.]

In the summer of 1967, seemingly out of the blue, Abigail made a fairly radical shift from the bookish, graduate of all girls schools, writing a thesis about the plays of Christopher Marlow and performing in Gilbert and Sullivan operas, to the girlfriend of an outlaw, rock and roll, photographer.   

1967


Abigail Folger appeared in the May 1967 issue of Vogue Magazine. Most of us have seen the photos of her from that photo shoot (right, below). I was more intrigued by the cover which featured Candice Bergen. Ms. Bergen, of course, would occupy Cielo Drive with Terry Melcher before Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. 

On June 15, 1967 Gibbie drove down to Monterey, California. She was going to the Monterey Pop Festival with her boyfriend, Jim Marshall. Also in her car were Elaine Mayes, John Luce, Paul Ryan and Suki Teipel-Hill. Four of the five were photographers and Luce, a journalist at the time, was researching a piece for Look magazine about Ravi Shankar. 

Jim Marshall 1967
Jim Marshall. For those who don’t know who that is just Google his name. He took many iconic photos of rock, jazz and country musicians during his career. His image of Johnny Cash flipping the camera the bird is legendary. He was the Hunter S. Thompson of photography. Dennis Hopper has been quoted as saying Marshall was the inspiration for his character in Apocalypse Now. Marshall was a fast driving, hard living, foul mouthed guy who rubbed many people the wrong way. According to at least one source he carried a loaded gun tucked in his waistband. 

On the Facebook tribute page to Abigail I found this:

“Jim Marshall died in 2010 before I could get the chance to speak to him. However, I did learn from a personal life-long friend of his, that his feelings towards Gibbie remained warm, often finding it hard to discuss the nature of her death. He harbored feelings of anger about it, saying if Charles Manson was ever released from prison, he'd be waiting for him at the gates with a shotgun.” (https://www.facebook.com/Abigail-Folger-Tribute-Page-188117394542445/)

Given what I read about Marshall while writing this post (ie: pulling his gun on an ad exec and threatening to shoot him), I think he would have blown Manson away if the opportunity presented itself. If he said those words, and I have no reason to doubt the source, I think it also gives us an indication what kind of impact Abigail had on those who knew her. 

Elaine Mayes 1967
Suki Teipel-Hill at Monterey.
Photo by Elaine Mayes
Elaine Mayes. Google her, too. She is also a famous photographer of the times. She put together a book of her photos from the Monterey Pop Festival called ‘It Happened In Monterey’. I highly recommend it if, like me, you are into that time period and the bands who played the music of those times. It is a collection of her photographs from the concert and comments by those who were there. She took a candid photo of an African-American guy buying flowers outside the festival and only learned afterwards that it was Jimi Hendrix. 

Suki Teipel Hill. Her photographic talent is also well known and included some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll. You can Google her, too. 

Paul Ryan (Not the congressman, the cinematographer). You can check his credits out on IMB. They include The Horse Whisperer. 

John Luce at Monterey.
Photo by Elaine Mayes
The sign at the door of the clinic
John Luce (today, Dr. John Luce). In 1967 Dr. Luce was a journalist and was also the Public Affairs Director for the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. In that capacity he co-authored a book with Dr. David E. Smith (you can find some posts about ‘Dr. Dave’ over there to the right). The book was titled ‘Love Needs Care’ and was published in 1971. Manson and the Family make a brief appearance in the book.  

During the time Luce was at the clinic so was Ines Folger, Abigail’s mother and, so was Manson. Is there any evidence that Abigail was also at the clinic? Not that I could find. She did attend several fund raising events thrown by her mother for the clinic. Some sources like to place Manson at those fund raisers but since the idea was to encourage attendees to give money to the clinic, not take it, I doubt Manson was invited. 

Dr. Luce graduated from Stanford in 1963 with a degree in English. He became a doctor in 1974. According to "It Happened In Monterey" at least in 2002 Dr. Luce was teaching Clinical Medicine and Anesthesia at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.

Dr. Luce:

“Although the music obviously stands out in my mind, and although I was in Monterey to focus on Ravi Shankar, my memories of the event are dominated by two people I knew a long time before. One was David Crosby [who attended the same high school as Luce].
*****

"The other person I remember most from Monterey is Gibby. She had lived a rather mild life in the Bay area as a member of a pioneer California family that owned a coffee company. I had always thought of her as a quiet and intellectual woman. Jim Marshall by contrast was in those days a fast driving and dirty talking man whose photography was as well served by his aggressiveness as it was by his artistic sensibilities. Seeing Jim and Gibby together made me wonder how rock music, and perhaps the drugs which were part of rock, produced bedfellows I could not have anticipated." (Elaine Mayes, It Happened In Monterey, Britannia Press, 2002 pp.121)

Elaine Mayes:

“For most of us the Fastival was a spectacular tribal weekend, a pinnacle celebration of a vision for a way of life. But I also sensed that Monterey Pop meant an end of an era. Maybe this inkling was because my sleeping bag was stolen from Gibby Folger’s car in the parking lot of our hotel on the last day of the festival.” (Elaine Mayes, It Happened In Monterey, Britannia Press, 2002 pp. 5)

Marshall, Mayes, Teipel-Hill and Ryan between them took hundreds of photographs at Monterey. They photographed the performers, of course, but also the crowd and each took a number of 'back stage' photos or shots outside the gates of the festival in the fairgrounds. These photographs provide candid images of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliott, Brian Jones, Peter Tork, Nico and a host of others who attended the festival. I spent a considerable amount of time perusing these photos with the hope Gibbie might have been in the background of one or two of their shots; all to no avail. 

However, adding another ‘oo-ee-oo’ moment to Gibbie’s life, I did discover several photographs of Candice Bergen back stage at the festival. 

One source claims Abigail makes a brief appearance in D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary of Monterey Pop.  I watched the film. About 6:45 in, right after the scene with Michelle and John Phillips on the phone, a woman wearing a yellow coat and hat, eating something, strolls through the crowd. You can't see her face. Abigail? It didn't look like her to me. The hair seemed wrong, far too 'loose' or 'unkept'. 

[Aside: If, like me, you have an interest in the Monterey Pop Festival there is a very good discussion here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/50th-anniversary-1967-monterey-international-pop-festival-performance-by-performance.674517/]

Off to New York


In September 1967 Gibbie did what feels like a complete 180. She pulled up stakes and drove to New York City with Andreas (Andy) Brown. Brown had just purchased a book store known as the Gotham Book Mart from its long time proprietor Frances (Fanny) Steloff.  Brown had been working as a rare book appraiser in San Francisco prior to the move. Perhaps they met through the Art Museum or Abigail's love of books. Brown, upon arrival, set about to modernize the shop and add an art gallery on the second floor, perhaps that is where Abigail fit into the picture. 

The Gotham Book Mart, where she worked, has been called the most famous book store in America. Starting in the 1920’s it also was a sort of ‘the social club for American authors and poets’. It was a hub for avant garde literature, banned books and a physical location where authors and poets congregated for 87 years. 

Gibbie had gone from Jim Marshall and bumping elbows with Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones at Monterey Pop to bumping elbows with JD Salinger and Truman Capote while working as a clerk at the Gotham Book Mart.

According to Brown, he dated Gibbie frequently while she was in New York. He said this about her shortly after her murder. 

“The best description of her was sophisticated. She was interested in the arts and had a craving for
Andreas (Andy) Brown and Frances Steloff 1975
knowledge of the fashion industries.” (She Had Everything to Live For, Michael Hanrahan, The New York Daily News, August 15, 1969)

At a Christmas party at the bookstore in 1967 Gibbie met Jerzy Kosinski, a writer, best known, as the author of ‘Being There’ a few years later. 

Jerzy Kosinski 1969
[Aside: By the late nineteen-sixties, Kosinski had become famous in Manhattan literary circles for his  tales of the horrors he had witnessed in Poland during World War II. These formed the basis of his 1965 novel ‘The Painted Bird’. Then the Village Voice published an article claiming his stories were all BS and even suggesting certain uncredited ‘editors’ had actually written his novels, including the Painted Bird. Jerzy never recovered, emotionally, and committed suicide in 1991. 

Following the Tate/La Bianca murders, Jerzy also added his name to the list of those who were supposed to be at Cielo Drive the night of the murders. He claimed the only reason he wasn’t present was because he and his wife had lost their luggage flying back from Europe, in route to LA. Roman Polanski, in his autobiography, disputed his claim. At least one journalist sided with Kosinski. (John Taylor, The Haunted Bird: The Death and Life of Jerzy Kosinski, New York Magazine, June 15, 1991.)] 

Kosinski introduced Abigail to his friend and fellow countryman, Wojciech Frykowski. A romance developed. In fact, she is described by co-workers in the article, above, as falling madly in love with Frykowski. This seems to have faded in the next two years. The two eventually shared Abigail's apartment for a few months. Then, in August of 1968 Abigail and Wojciech relocated back to Los Angeles. 
_____

Abigail now had come full circle. She moved away from books, art museums and literary figures and back into the world of music, sex, drugs and Hollywood. Unfortunately, this time her search would cost her, her life. This happened because she stayed too long. Like the "Caretaker's Friend", the "Coffee Heiress" would find herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. An odd number of coincidences place her at Cielo Drive on August 8, 1969. She was not only not supposed to be there that night. She didn't want to be there and only was there, to help a friend.
_____


I always hesitate to write these posts. 

They add nothing to the discussion of motive and reveal nothing about the crimes. 

Someone usually chimes in with a 'ho hum'. I don't take offense at that. When I was writing this I even stopped at one point. Then I was organizing the images into folders in my personal data base and clicked on this one. It was staged for the camera, yes. She is about 16.

I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the victims were real people, not heiresses, movie stars and iconic hair stylists. Abigail stood, there, on the edge of Monterey Harbor in 1959 or 1960  with her entire future in front of her. Se never, for an instant, could have imagined what would happen nine years later. Her whole life was in front fo her.She had a life to live, love to experience, children to raise (maybe), ups and downs to get through.

Today, that young woman in the photograph would be 75 years old and reflecting back on her life, perhaps surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

She might be telling them tales about Captain Hook and the Santa Catalina School for girls. Maybe last June when a piece came on the television about Monterey Pop she would have said, 'I was there'.  How many of us can say: "I saw Jimi Hendrix light his guitar on fire."

Maybe she would pass on to say she was at parties at the Gotham Book Mart where JD Salinger showed up and explained that f**king book.

She might be telling tales about Jim Marshall, Jerzy Kosinski, Elaine Mayes and Andy Brown.

How many of us can tell those stories?

And all that was taken away for, whichever motive you choose, an utterly senseless reason.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of these horrible crimes. I don’t know how much media attention that will generate. I suspect it will be less than it would have been if Manson was still alive. Then again, Quentin Tarrentino says he’s going to release a movie about the crimes on the 50th anniversary. Another film, directed by Mary Harron, “Charlie Says”, is in post-production and likely will also be released in the next year. 

“Charlie Says” will focus on the deprogramming of Atkins, Kreninkel and Van Houten after the trial. They will likely be portrayed with some level of empathy for their lives. The movie might generate a discussion about possible parole. Some will suggest we should all have empathy for the two remaining female killers. This has been suggested here, on another post. 

I offer this, lest we forget.....
_____

Van Houten 

Q (Bugliosi): Are you sorry that you murdered Rosemary La Bianca?
A (Van Houten): Sorry never meant anything. It’s just a five letter word 
people use.
Q: Have you ever shed one tiny tear that you murdered Rosemary LaBianca?
A: I have shed a lot of tears. 
Q: Have you ever shed any tears that you murdered her?
A: Not that I can remember.
****
Q: Do you feel bad about it?
A: It happened. I don’t feel bad about anything that happened.

Krenwinkel

A (Krenwinkel): “And I had a knife in my hands, and she took off running, and she ran—she ran out through the back door, one I never even touched, I mean, nobody got fingerprints because I never touched that door…and I stabbed her and I kept stabbing her.” 
Q. “What did you feel after you stabbed her?” 
A. “Nothing—I mean, like what is there to describe? It was just there, and it’s like it was right.”
_____

I was reminded by their testimony of a passage from the Bible that has always struck me as sounding oddly, karmic (karma being a favorite justification used by the Family): 

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 

I, for one, believe they have reaped what they sowed 50 years ago and will not be joining the chorus of the empathic.
_____

I would, however, offer an alternative because I like to think that one should not be just negative. Maybe, as the 50th anniversary approaches we could do one small thing to remember Abigail Anne Folger. I think she would like it. 

Let's spell her nickname correctly. 

It’s 'Gibbie' not 'Gibby". 

Pax Vobiscum

Dreath

103 comments:

Mr. Humphrat said...

Gibbie had her father's eyes

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

One thing to remember is August 8 was probably the last night she would be staying at Cielo. She was scheduled to fly to San Francisco the next morning, presumably spending a couple days, by which time Roman was to be coming home on August 12. She and Voytek had allegedly moved most of their belongings out of Cielo back to their home on Woodstock Road by August 8.
We think of Steven Parent as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if not for 10 more hours, Abigail wouldn't have been there either.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Nice job David. I enjoyed finding out more about her. I agree the young woman you enlarged in the photo does look like her, from the eyes.

One point I would make in regard to Van Houten's and Krenwinkle's lack of feeling under testimony is I can think of several other girls in the Manson group who expressed that sort of blank reaction to the crimes. It was in their 'programming.' I'm glad someone's making a movie about their deprogramming and that's one reason I find Paul Watkins' book fascinating is how he and Brooks (and Juanita and Juan?) went through their own variety of deprogramming with Paul Crockett.

Orwhut said...

Thanks for this post, David. I think about poor Abigail often when shopping for coffee.

Orwhut said...

David said...
In the summer of 1967, seemingly out of the blue, Abigail made a fairly radical shift from the bookish, graduate of all girls schools, writing a thesis about the plays of Christopher Marlow and performing in Gilbert and Sullivan operas, to the girlfriend of an outlaw, rock and roll, photographer.

I've never understood why they all want a bad boy.

David said...

Mr. Humphrat said: "One point I would make in regard to Van Houten's and Krenwinkle's lack of feeling under testimony is I can think of several other girls in the Manson group who expressed that sort of blank reaction to the crimes. It was in their 'programming.'"

I decided to go ahead and write this post because I wanted the pro-parole group to see the person who was murdered, instead of a Coffee Heiress. I frankly want them to look at that young lady at age 16 and tell me why Krenwinkel (or Van Houten) should be free. Oh, they will likely separate the two because it is different crimes but the mind set, where each had in 1969 is exactly the same.

Until 2016 Krenwinkel never hid by the guest house. Until a bit before that she never asked for God's divine intervention to stop the crimes. No, until then she hissed 'kill her' when Sharon Tate was murdered.

I also want the pro-Manson group to explain to me why it was 'ok' that young lady had to die. Not, why she died but why that was ok. Or I would like to hear them say, unequivocally, 'it wasn't'.

One did answer why it was 'ok', Mr. Humphrat, about 25 years ago. She said: "Because people die every day."

I don't want either of them walking on the same street as me and I don't care if they are 30-50 or 80. I want them to know this was not, ok because they were programmed. I want them to remember they 'chose' to be programed.

IMO


David said...

Orwhut said: I've never understood why they all want a bad boy.

Me either.

Gorodish said...

No "ho-hums" here...very nice eloquent post. And the pictures are great too. I see Gibbie was in good company, as I am referencing the "Sophomore Year" photo "The Choral". I see Sharon Gless of 1980's TV police show "Cagney And Lacey" two to the right of Gibbie. ANd in the same picture, just above Gibbie's head is Mela Ferrer, daughter of actor Mel Ferrer who was married to Audrey Hepburn at the time of this photo.

David said...

Mr. Humphrat said: "I agree the young woman you enlarged in the photo does look like her, from the eyes."

I am not the first person to blow up that image by any stretch (I actually thought most would know that). I was just not sure that was her.

David said...

Gorodish said: "I see Sharon Gless of 1980's TV police show "Cagney And Lacey" two to the right of Gibbie. ANd in the same picture, just above Gibbie's head is Mela Ferrer".

I didn't notice that. Holy shit! Thank you!

Gorodish said...

Sharon Gless and Mela Ferrer were both born in the same year as Gibby, 1943, and pretty much led equally priveleged lives.

Gorodish said...

Oops I meant "Gibbie".....

Matt said...

David, I devoured this like a gourmet dinner. Fantastic job. The photographic finds were really something, too. That photo of the 16 year old girl is mesmerizing and equally heartbreaking. Perspective is everything.


Robert C said...

I also found Folger to be the most intriguing of the victims largely because it seemed her family post-mortem pretty much cleaned the slate except for what they couldn't get at such as public school records, performances and jobs. And I was always under the impression Abigail worked briefly at that clinic, not her mother (if I got that straight) so that was a small revelation. But great job finding what you did, David, and looking forward to Part Two.

In a court of law I still don't think what happened to Folger should be reflected on LVH's case regardless of thinking, behavior, attitude etc. IMO she's a political prisoner at this point only in the context of comparing her level of involvement with others of similar but less sensational crimes and the comparative sentences actually served.

Whenever I think of Abigail I always involuntarily picture her running out that side door in her white gown across the deep green grass, an image rather pretty in an artsy way, but then being pursued by Krenwinkle with upraised, knife wielding arm and hand, another image but out of a horror story like a red fiend or witch. This always then spins me off into a weird assessment of battle lines where we have essentially four men and two women versus one man and three women, and how the victims could have survived except for the elements of surprise (and zero coordination) and one firearm that more than balanced the equation.

Another equally weird thought is how Folger could have actually aggressively confronted Krenwinkle outside, wrestled away the knife and knocked Pat's gizzard out, gone back inside like a banshee knifing Atkins and yelling at Voytek to be a man and take on Tex in a similar fashion, assisted by Tate, etc. thus saving themselves except for Parent and Sebring. Then it would have been nice for wimpy Garretson to have shown up as reinforcement. What coulda and shoulda been ....

Robert C said...

Matt said: "That photo of the 16 year old girl is mesmerizing and equally heartbreaking."

Strikes a strong chord with me too because my older sister, who is virtually the same age as Folger, looked and dressed very similar , and I remember those 'tube' or 'poodle' skirts plus 'flats' (shoes) well.

brownrice said...

Great post, David... fantastic research (again).

sheisalocal said...

An interesting point you mentioned was that none of Gibbie's family shows up to parole hearings to speak on behalf of victim's rights. Were they attending the original trial? Is it easier for them to leave the past be, so,to speak? I shudder to think she is in a sense "forgotten" by her own family.

David said...

Robert C said: "Another equally weird thought is how Folger could have actually aggressively confronted Krenwinkle outside, wrestled away the knife and knocked Pat's gizzard out...."

She attempted to do exactly that. Abigail Folger's defensive wounds are consistent with an effort to grab the blade of the knife and wrestle it out of Krenwinkel's hand.


Sheisalocal said: "Were they attending the original trial?"

There is evidence that her mother attended the trial at least on one occasion.

"More unsettling was describing her brief appearances at the Manson trial. While she never spoke to any members of the clan, she knew everything about them when she would have the bad luck of looking into their eyes. What she saw was the consummate definition of evil incarnate.

“While time has a way of softening unpleasant events, it does nothing of the kind when you have come face to face with deadening horror. I will take those eyes with me to the grave.”

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=886799454674232&id=188117394542445

Torque said...

Bravo. Well researched and written. Thank you. This is the first time I've seen some of these photos of Abigail. Indeed, photos of her have proven very difficult to find. I've made contact with Elaine Mayes to inquire about photos, but unfortunately she does not have any.

Another interesting angle would be film with sound of Abigail's voice. Within the confines of the investigation, a videotape exists, depicting her serving dinner in the living room at Cielo, and in clear conversation with others. Unfortunately this video tape is in evidence, and not available for public view. The tape is discussed in Helter Skelter.

I am of the opinion that an authorized (by her family), respectful, well researched, and beautifully written biography of Abigail Folger is long overdue. This work would focus on her interesting and unique life, without focusing on her death. It would be a celebration of her life, set in the context of the 1960's and her experience of the discourses that made up that fascinating decade.

To be sure, I also am of the opinion that Abigail had a kind of change, ostensibly, after the spring of 1967. What precipitated this, to me, is unknown.

I'd also submit that the only way for a professional biography to be written, would be to approach Abigail's family. No doubt they would have retained her personal papers, photographs, and many of her posessions. Being the intellect she was, I would not be surprised if Abigail kept diaries or journals. This would be absolutely necessary for a writer to mine in order to create a proper biography.

Thanks again for this excellent post. It has cleared up some misconceptions, and I've learned more about this remarkable and beautiful young woman.

St Circumstance said...

I found this to be so refreshing. Well done Sir!! I personally think it is very important to take time out for respecting the victims. Bobbie was certainly a very bright and capable woman who derived the chance to live out her life and explore her passions.

There is a series on Netflix I just became aware of called "Died too young" I watched an episode on Sharon over the weekend and it was amazing. No Charlie except a few old videos. No Helter Skelter or arguing over motive. Just a look back at Sharon. Lots of old pics and home movies. Old interviews with people who knew her. Lots of Debra and I loved it!!

We must remember at the end of all this that people were murdered. Good people. Flawed and imperfect like is all, but people with family and dreams. I mourn them all and that is always more important to me than the stories of the animals who tortured and killed them. The victims deserve our respect and a fair share of our interest. I think they get that on this blog.

I also think that one got a very special moment in this particular post and I am very grateful for it!! Well Done 😉

St Circumstance said...

Gibbie not Bobby lol. Sorry typing from phone!

Unknown said...

Very interesting and well written. Thank you.

Carlos said...

Highly informative and wonderfully presented. Thanks.

grimtraveller said...

Pax Vobiscum said...

At times I think the victims fall through the cracks as we study the ‘motive’ or ‘look at the evidence’

They do. I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. Most people I'm aware of that have an interest in crime don't have that fascination for the victims. They generally are incidental to the story.
I think because of the way the victims died all of that early speculation shone a light at them. You had people talking about the film star, the guy that cut the film stars' hair, the 'coffee heiress' and the friend of the film director. It's almost as though the question was being asked "were they that innocent ?" and then various details started emerging.
Robert C said that it seemed that the Folgers cleaned the slate and that could explain why there wasn't much around about Abigail. I've long been glad though. Because inevitably, if the door opens, it's not just the good stuff that comes out. I don't know if Peter Folger used strong arm tactics on writers that planned to write about her, but if he did, I say good on him. It's bad enough having to deal with your child being murdered without seeing her memory sacrificed on the alter of the public's desire to know and a certain journalistic willingness to feed that.

Claire Robinson said...

Women ALL want a bad boy? Are we the Borg? You are only SEEING the women who hook up with bad boys and not the millions of women who are with ordinary guys. You don’t notice them.

As Doris Day once said, when a man does something wrong people say, ‘Isn’t he silly?’ When a woman does something wrong, they say ‘Aren’t women silly?’ Most women do NOT want bad boys...the problem is, these men only show you this side when you’re sucked in.

Back to the article, I always liked Gibbie too. She was complex. This was a lovely tribute to her.

David said...

Grim said: "They do. I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. Most people I'm aware of that have an interest in crime don't have that fascination for the victims. They generally are incidental to the story."

I have to assume I am not understanding this. Are you really saying the victims in this crime are 'incidental' to the story and that ignoring them is 'ok'?

grimtraveller said...

Orwhut said...

I've never understood why they all want a bad boy

I guess you can't help who or what you're attracted to.

Robert C said...

Another equally weird thought is how Folger could have actually aggressively confronted Krenwinkle outside, wrestled away the knife and knocked Pat's gizzard out, gone back inside like a banshee knifing Atkins and yelling at Voytek to be a man and take on Tex in a similar fashion, assisted by Tate, etc. thus saving themselves except for Parent and Sebring

A gun and a murder before your eyes is a great leveller. Half an hour earlier, she was on a mild buzz, reading a book in bed, with the anticipation of seeing her Mum later that day.
I wouldn't be surprised either, if the fact that she had something of an open and social heart may have had a bearing on her, if it's true that she'd seen Atkins a while before then having her turn on her with a knife when she'd previously smiled and waved. It's not lost on me that the one person that had shown aggression {Sebring} was gunned down in a flash.
For what it's worth, when Leslie was speaking with Marvin Part about Cielo, she said that Pat had told her that it was all over so quickly. I think Abigail did try to fight, but by the time she was outside, she'd been stabbed quite a few times and if Susan's recollection of Tex stabbing her in the midriff and her holding her middle and falling is true, then one can see that she would have been hurting.

sheisalocal said...

I shudder to think she is in a sense "forgotten" by her own family

I don't think that not going to parole hearings to protest shows that she's forgotten. As hard as it may seem, some people just want to and are able to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives and not feel that they have to be seen to be against something in order to be against it.

Monica said...

Beautiful tribute. Just a wonderful, touching post.

I, too, would like to hear her voice .

grimtraveller said...

David said...

Are you really saying the victims in this crime are 'incidental' to the story and that ignoring them is 'ok'?

The first part of what I said is a general point about crime and victims. Most people I know or am aware of that have an interest in true crime tend to do so in terms of the criminal and what the criminal did. If we look at serial killers or stick up merchants or people that kill in 'crimes of passion' or whatever, we generally look at the criminal. You'd mainly hear of the crime and if the criminal is caught much of what you'd hear is about them. Rarely would it be reported that "such and such {the victim"} has been killed or robbed unless it's a really well known person or persons. So, harsh as it may seem, the victim is incidental when one is looking at the overall story. A lot of the time, many of us can't remember the names of victims and in robberies, we rarely even hear them.
The second part of what I said focused on the fact that this crime was somewhat different because of the nature of the crime, where it happened and the associations of the victims, as well as who some of them were.
I'm not saying that people should be ignored or forgotten but on the other hand, when people get together to discuss cases, the victims are going to fall through the cracks. Because, I suspect, it's rarely the victims that will draw people to the case in the first place. That's not a downgrading of the life of the victim, or their value or worth or what they'll mean to the people to whom they mattered.
But having all the spotlight on the victim's life {whether they are the victim of a robbery or a murder}, given the way stories sometimes are pitched to make them "interesting", I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing if they do fall through the cracks in the wider scheme of things.

Peter said...

Nice job. Nobody can say this sight isn't sympathetic to the victims when you've probably put together the most comprehensive biography on the actual life of "the coffee heiress" in existence.

starviego said...


Thanks to this thread, I have learned that both Gibbie's father and brother were in the Marines. The Folgers company has a history with that branch of the service:

https://www.folgerscoffee.com/our-story/history
Just one year after our new factory was built, disaster hit. Our building was the only coffee business to survive the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. While fire spread throughout the city, the U.S. Marines set up headquarters in the Folgers building and pumped water from the bay. During the city's rebuilding, citizens were given free coffee.

Was Peter M. Folger Jr a Vietnam vet? The timing is right, and he almost certainly would have been up for a tour.

ColScott said...

This is the single best thing I have read on the site, period full stop.

starviego said...



Here is the latest pic of brother Peter M. Folger Jr. that I could find:

https://www.folgerlevin.com/attorney/peter-m-folger/

His email, if anybody dare contact him:

pfolger@folgerlevin.com

starviego said...


Here's a scary incident that happened to Gibbie's niece back in '89 (sorry if this has been posted before):

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-03-12/news/mn-1250_1_folger-family
12-Year-Old Heiress to Folger Fortune Target of S.F. Kidnapper
March 12, 1989

SAN FRANCISCO — Police Saturday searched for a man who tried to kidnap 12-year-old Abiah Folger, heir to the Folger Coffee Co. fortune, as she stepped off a school bus.
Despite the attempted kidnaping, the parents and police described the incident as a random attack and believe the man did not know about the girl's connection to the Folger family. ... The abduction try occurred at 5:05 p.m. Friday when the girl was crossing a street near her Pacific Heights home. A man rushed toward her on foot and tried to grab her, said Officer Greg Ovanessian.

Jean Harlow said...

That was beautiful David. Thank you.

Jean Harlow
Long time lurker

AustinAnn74 said...

David, this was a really interesting post. I also agree with your opinions on no parole for the killers. Nice job!

David said...

To all,

I truly appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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

David, your article should be made into a movie/documentary for the 50th anniversary. Surely there is a reader who can make that happen. I am sad about the stuff that is coming down fast for the 50th...Tarantino, etc. Wouldn't it be great if this blog could make something like that happen?

Robert C said...

For those with a little hankering for more, there's a Facebook "Abigail Folger Tribute Page" here that shows a few more pics and etc.

https://www.facebook.com/Abigail-Folger-Tribute-Page-188117394542445/

** David - sure hope this doesn't intrude on your planned "Part 2"

Doug Smith said...

If not, it surely floats in rarified air, among maybe 1 or 2 other pieces. And, there's a second part to come!

ColScott - option THIS for TV or, as a piece of a project that stands uniquely on it's own.

Just my 2 cents...

GreenWhite said...

Incredible post. Maybe my favorite on this blog. Thank you.

Terrapin said...

Echoing everyone... great work man

Chris Till said...

Very interesting. I did not know that Folger dated the photographer Jim Marshall. From your timeline, it seems we might reasonably assume that she spent the Summer of Love with Marshall in the San Francisco area? Marshall had a golden pass to the Summer of Love, even photographing the publicity-shy Diggers, as I recall. Without specific knowledge, I've assumed the the Diggers inspired some corner of Manson's philosophy.

Kosinski, as made clear in his fine books, was an odd bird. Whether his early books were true autobiography or embellished, we'll never know. What is clear is his talent. And oddness. I think it's in his book "Steps" that he details his perfected youthful technique for rape.

Years ago, I read a short story or essay by Kosinski about visiting Los Angeles to see his friend Frykowski sometime prior to August 1969. In it, he details a car ride around the Los Angeles area with Frykowski. At one point, Frykowski spots a group of shaggy young people on a sidewalk. To Kosinski, Frykowski dismissively refers to them as "locusts." Kosinski's understated implication was four-fold: Frykowski knew them; he didn't like them; they were Mansonistas; and, by using the Biblical term "locusts" to describe them, that Frykowski knew something of their philosophies. Finally, a minor point, but I do not believe that Kosinski wrote book called "Trading Places."

Chris Till said...

*wrote a book

David said...

Chris Till said: "I do not believe that Kosinski wrote book called "Trading Places."

You are absolutely correct. The book I meant to list was 'Being There'. The irony of that error was that I was picking to a friend's brain about Kosinski that and said "Trading Places" and he corrected me and I still got it wrong when I wrote that a few hours later. Then again, until I fixed it I had Gibbie talking to her grand children about a 70's pop/rock band- Dr. Hook- instead of Captain Hook.

Thank you. I have corrected the reference.

David said...

Robert C said: "David - sure hope this doesn't intrude on your planned "Part 2"

It will not. If you notice the Jim Marshall quote about Manson in the post is credited to that site. I read every post over there.

On the subject of Part 2, given all the extremely kind comments I should give you all a heads up. It will be a little while.

ColScott said...

Doug- what would I be optioning? I do not track what you are saying

Brian G said...

This was a well done post. I learned alot about Folger I didn't know. Great work

Peter said...

"A Deadly Brew - The Gibbie Folger Story." You work for Lifetime don't you?

Doug Smith said...

ColScott - you are correct. I grasped for the wrong word in my response to your earlier post. There is no published novel or screenplay, etc here. Nor, would licencing be the correct terminology here...my inner bass player seemed to take me over earlier (lol).
Maybe it would entail utilizing the archival and, researching talents we all agree are so obviously present within the composition of this most excellent post.
Maybe hiring David as an archivist or, researcher, or, as a part of a team of writers - perhaps taking on a more biographical/historical/intimate/personal kind of preamble Or, prehistory of the victims (perhaps expanding the scope to include those "victimized" by their association with the crimes - Garretson, Chapman, Col Tate etc)
You could produce a unique take on a fascinating but, somewhat stale historical event.
Personalizing the crime even more - possibly creating stronger bonds w/the victims - therefore producing a work that delves deeper - more impactfully - and, becomes even more shocking and grotesque and confounding via our increased personal attachment to those who lost their lives...and, those who had to live their lives lost.

Thanks for politely calling me on that. My response was somewhat off the cuff and, perhaps, lazy

Jennifer Hays said...

Such a great post, one of the best I've read here. Very well-written. I'm really impressed with the way you brought Gibbie to life. Thank you for including so many photos.

Brian G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Brian,

No, Peter is being humorous and directing that to the Col.

caseofthevapours said...

Thank-you for this outstanding tribute to the lovely Ms. Abigail Anne Folger, and for bringing to light untold facts and stories heretofore unknown to most. You have written, as another member commented, nothing less than a mini-biography...and, in doing so, you have brought Gibbie to life during her time in this world.

~ Coldwater

Brian G said...

Ok my bad.I deleted my mistake. It's a decent post on someone I know little about and it was different than the same old same old. I enjoyed it. Thanks

David said...

Brian,

No problem at all he followed you. I have been there.

David said...

Joe,

I would support your right to say this with my life. Please don’t bring it to this post. Thanks.

orwhut said...


Blogger Claire Robinson said...
Women ALL want a bad boy? Are we the Borg? You are only SEEING the women who hook up with bad boys and not the millions of women who are with ordinary guys. You don’t notice them.

Claire,
I'm guilty of a poor choice of words. I should have omitted the word "all". You have my apology.

caseofthevapours said...

I did not know that Gibbie wrote her senior thesis on Marlowe; he is the author of one of my favorite poems:

“It lies not in our power to love or hate"
BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should lose, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows; let it suffice
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?

~Coldwater

mrgroove said...

Ditto on this being a great post. Well done!

ColScott said...

I have nothing to do with Lifetime.

Doug my point was that
- As amazing as this article is, and it is, Gibby's life does not warrant a movie. Now portion of her life might, like an event ala Katharine Graham and THE POST but even there I do not see it
- You cannot own facts or the life rights to dead persons so I would not need to option anything anyway

Doug Smith said...

Thanks for some more knowledge ColScott! I wonder if her life as a part of a larger scope of events in the lives of a collection of people would have a significant audience? Again, showing more intimate nuances from each victim (deceased OR, those who lived/are living after the slaughter).

Get inside our heads and force us to connect on a deeper level - like a mindfuck or, perhaps feeling a bit of our own mortality, fear, failure, grief or, whatever is our response. If the characters are humanized to truly reflect ourselves.

Then again...what do I know.

Probably better explained if we were engaged in conversation over an adult beverage and, the dialogue was spontaneous and free-flowing.

Cheers

Claire Robinson said...

Orwhut not at all! I’m sorry - I sounded harsh but I did not mean to be at all. It’s all good! You’re sound. ;)

I’m replying to your message but once I post this I know it will appear at the bottom of the messages...not sure why that keeps happening. Hope you see it. :)

Orwhut said...

Claire,
Got it and we're cool. :)
Whut

Claire Robinson said...

Whut we are thanks a mill!:D

This site needs emojis!

Matt said...

Emojis would be ok, but I wish blogger would make multi-threaded commenting active on the web version like it is on the mobile version. Commenters who only use tablets and phones appear schizophrenic on desktops.


Robert C said...

" ... but I wish blogger would make multi-threaded commenting active on the web version like it is on the mobile version. Commenters who only use tablets and phones appear schizophrenic on desktops. "

Anybody else understand this or have I become techno-illiterate over-night ?

Peter said...

The court ruled. Lulu stays put.

Peter said...

No emoji. No pictures. It's nice the way it is. Requires one to organize and write it out

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

Just a wonderful piece, David. Thanks!

As the conductor of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera company, I’m happy to learn of her G&S experience!

Jenn

Orwhut said...

Gilbert and Sullivan! For a second there I thought I might be reading about the Zodiac killer by mistake.

Matthew Record said...

Will there be a part 2?

Matt said...

Robert C said...

Anybody else understand this or have I become techno-illiterate over-night ?


Robert, on mobile devices you can reply directly to someone and your reply appears with the comment you are replying to. Everyone else on mobile devices can see that and follow the discussion. That's what multi-threaded means.

On the web version we have to copy/paste the person's comment and reply (like I'm doing right now) or else readers just see your comment at the bottom and it's anyone's guess who you are addressing.

It doesn't make sense to me why they don't carry it over to the larger platform.



David said...

Matthew,

Yes. But not for a little while. Gathering some of the information requires the bureaucratic processes to do their less then speedy thing.

Robert C said...

Thanks for the clarification, Matt.

Robert C said...

David said: " The horror inflicted on these innocent lives I am not sure has ever been equalled in the history of crime. "

Well now Charles Starkweather murdered eleven on his own for no reason at all, Chalrles Whitman snuffed 17, both in the US, and we've had some spectacular slaughters more recently, etc.

David said: " They suffered from no particular diagnosis and killed 'because it had to happen'. "

Well I think the diagnosis here is a complete bottoming out of self-esteem along with a close affiliation with a cult leader due to extreme peer pressure, need, and personal survival, and a pretty fatalistic attitude. Something along the line of Stockholm Syndrome or near to it ?

David said: " And when they did, they felt nothing and absolutely no contemporaneous account by any one of them that I have ever seen actually says they felt anything except joy. "

I wonder if that was more for public consumption ala external presentation of chuzpah at the time of their descent to predatory levels where they lost remorse.

David said: " And, looking at her hearings, I don't think she has ever explained that because I don't think she acknowledges it. "

From what I can tell I doubt there's anything else LVH can say because this has been a political prisoner situation for quite some time. Even the review board decided not to play along with that tune anymore. But nearly 50 years ago she played a very minor role in scaring Hollywood. With a couple of celebrities as Governor of California in recent times it's no surprise the pressure on them from their peers still remains strong.

David said: " Was she crazy in a truly science fiction kind of way? No, because she knew it was wrong. She simply didn't care and more to my point, she enjoyed what she did (without mental defect). "

As a teenager Manson had replaced her parents as an authority figure and more importantly to be obeyed with possible threat of harm if she didn't do so. This is what cults do. Her capacity to mentally sort things out for herself at that age and in that situation where she had no place else to go was manifest.

Basically I can understand how spending a lot of time doing research on and with Folger can influence one's attitude toward the culprits and anyone associated with them. But I try to view this from a legal standpoint. Personally I don't have a dog in the fight or care whether she gets out or not. But I am concerned when our legal system loses fair and consistent justice for all.

I believe if the MF had murdered that same number of people but none who were celebrities she would have been out 30 years ago. After all, they let Grogan out after a few and never really touched Moorehouse plus a few others on the edge of having been involved in murder like Kasabian and Brunner, etc.

David said...
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Claire Robinson said...

Matt said...Robert, on mobile devices you can reply directly to someone and your reply appears with the comment you are replying to. Everyone else on mobile devices can see that and follow the discussion. That's what multi-threaded means.

Matt for some reason I can’t get it to work. I’m on my mobile and still the message appears at the bottom of the page even when I reply to a specific message upthread. I don’t want to derail the thread though so I will just copy and paste like you suggest! (Was only joking about the emojis as I had put so many smilies in my wee message to Whut).

grimtraveller said...

David said...

The horror inflicted on these innocent lives I am not sure has ever been equalled in the history of crime

I've recently had arguments with people about this and on each occasion, I've asked myself how such a view can be quantified. I think we can all overlook a little hyperbole but in this matter, we're talking about a real event which will always go beyond hyperbole. And because it was a real event, the notion, in order to be examined fairly, has to be set alongside many, many other nominees of horror to see if it can stand.
I don't see how it can.
When Thomas Hamilton burst into a school in Dunblane, Scotland, back in '96 and shot 16 5 and 6 year olds dead, was the horror of that somehow less than the victims of the Tate~LaBianca murders ?
Were the people on 3 of the planes during 911 subjected to less horror during their murders ?
Did the numerous people subjected to murder/armed robberies over a number of years in Nigeria have a less horror filled time when watching their children being raped and violated before being shot dead ?
Throughout history in just about any country one cares to name, thousands of people have been victims of murder and whether it was someone that owned a store or shopped in that store that was shot dead by robbers who only netted $25 or whether it was some sick sex torture murder, those on the receiving end were placed in a horrendous scenario that few of us would genuinely wish on even the worst of us.
The TLB murders were without doubt horrific. But not more so than any others that have occurred throughout history. The victims didn't know what was in the psyche of the killers. They didn't have to. They experienced it. As do all victims.

David said...
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grimtraveller said...

David said...

There is a difference between a psychopath or sociopath who kills for shear pleasure (one way or the other) and these killers, who seem to fall into a unique category

I think they do fall in a unique category. Part of what is unique is that their story doesn't end with the perps in jail forever and a day and never to be heard of again.

They suffered from no particular diagnosis and killed 'because it had to happen'

And subsequently regretted it and turned their backs on that whole milieu. Does that count for nothing at all ? I could understand it more if it was only 10 or even 25 years ago. We're talking close to half a century. I'm not arguing that they all should be walking the streets, but a half a century, that's an awful long time for things to happen in a decaying life such as theirs was.

And when they did, they felt nothing and absolutely no contemporaneous account by any one of them that I have ever seen actually says they felt anything except joy

This is a story that swings back and forth like a pendulum and keeping track of contemporaneous statements in order to present a consistent picture is nigh on impossible.Take Atkins for instance. Forget anything she's said since conviction for Hinman for a moment, just her to~ing and fro~ing from Nov '69 to the end of the TLB trial. Her approach and attitude can be objectively charted as "Away from Charlie" and "With Charlie." The "With Charlie", primarily during the trial, denotes joy.
Van Houten's main contribution is her interview with Marvin Part. She's certainly unrepentant but 'joy' is not how I'd classify her being on it.
Pat is hardly joyous, running off to Alabama and scared of Charlie finding her and killing her, then fighting extradition.
The one place where the 'joy' was paraded for the world to see was during the penalty phase of a trial in which they'd already been convicted. A trial in which they had pleaded 'not guilty'. The reason I mention that is simply because those utterances can't really be divorced from Charles Manson. And therefore, are not without an important context.

grimtraveller said...

David said...

Stabbing someone is an extremely personal way to kill and I do think that makes a difference

Well, we're just different. For me, strangling someone, holding someone's head underwater until they drown, slicing off someone's genitals before shooting them, pouring flammable liquid on someone and setting them alight, hammering or battering someone's head, pushing someone off a building or mountain or into oncoming traffic, beheading or decapitation, suffocating someone, poisoning someone...I don't see them as any less personal.
I find sometimes that with this particular set of killers, in order to justify one's feeling that they should never be paroled, the horror that the victims suffered is almost amplified above and beyond that of any other victims of murders.

No, because she knew it was wrong

I think this highly debatable. Knowing that society and the law deem something as wrong doesn't mean one who goes against those codes believes it too. All the actors and rockers that used to take illegal drugs knew they ran the risk of getting busted if caught by the authorities. But few, if any, honestly thought they were doing wrong.

She simply didn't care

Very true. And she held that in common with many, if not most murderers.
By the time of the Part interview, she was admitting that she sometimes cried when she thought about what it did to the LaBianca children and that she felt bad about it and sorry for the Tates which is why she tried not to think about it.

and more to my point, she enjoyed what she did (without mental defect)....She enjoyed it. As did they all

That I really wonder about. Because again, there is that swinging back and forth, different descriptions of different feelings at different times.
If it was the case that I took on board what they've said subsequently, then even I could see the weakness in the argument because it can easily be argued that they could easily be feigning remorse for parole purposes {even though I don't solely go along with that}. But I'm not. I'm basing any thoughts purely on contemporaneous words at the time, that is '69-'71.
I don't believe they all enjoyed it.

grimtraveller said...

Even a post about one of the victims that brings a certain vibrancy to their memory and life veers in the direction of the killers and what they did, felt, thought, deserve etc.

David said...

Grim said: "Even a post about one of the victims that brings a certain vibrancy to their memory and life veers in the direction of the killers and what they did, felt, thought, deserve etc."

You are absolutely correct. That's why I'm out now.

grimtraveller said...

joseph esposito said...

that doesn't phase you, that we live in such a Matriarchal society, that (fiendish wo-MEN killers) NEVER become caricatures of evil the way Manson was?

I can't speak for the USA but in the UK, there have been few murderers that have been as reviled as Myra Hindley in the last 50 years.
While she was alive, it virtually impossible to have a conversation about her and say anything that wasn't condemning, without being lambasted as a tree hugging soft on crime liberal.
Some criminals catch the public imagination and media creativity in ways others don't, for a variety of reasons.

David said...

Joe,

So you know. If you post comments like the end of the last one I will delete them until someone higher up the food chain tells me to stop. If you would like to repost that comment without the end bit I would let it stand.

Orwhut said...
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Claire Robinson said...

Matriarchal society? Are you kidding? In the UK almost three women a WEEK are murdered by men...men commit 90% of all violent crime. Feck’s sake! Don’t be a misogynist!

Anyway, (sorry for being distracted by the misogynistic man there) the worst crime I have ever read about occurred a few years ago, in France. The victim was a woman (hear that, Joseph?) called Edith Muhr and she was murdered horrifically.

I had sleepless nights over her murder...I used to wake my husband in the wee small hours and ask him if he thought she suffered as I couldn’t stand it.




nikkistardust said...

nice rememberance of gibbie folger. so sad.

JC said...

She already had a taste for bad boys.
Kit Marlowe was quite an Elizabethan bad boy himself. Brawler, wit, spy...he was stabbed to death through the eye for gods sake!

Tony Cole said...

Gibby was fugly

grimtraveller said...

Not cool Tony, not cool.

David said...

Tony,

Fools that will laugh on earth, most weep in hell.

David said...

Joe said:

"A bunch of stuff."

Huh?

hippie doll said...

Grim:

I thought the same thing too!
Totally not cool.
:o(

Matt said...

Not cool. Not true.


John Seger said...

Claire Robinson, I googled Edith Muhr and read this:
"Sep 25, 2011 - A French farmer who bound an elderly German woman to a ladder before sawing off her limbs while she was still alive has been sentenced to life in prison. Yves Bureau was found guilty of torturing and murdering Edith Muhr at his farmhouse in Verdon in the Dordogne region of France."

Claire, that is beyond sick.
What a sick and twisted world we live in.

John Seger said...

Tony Cole said...
Gibby was fugly

Tony, No she was not fugly.
She was a pretty lady.
Very sick post, Tony.
Uncool indeed.
Please try and refrain from posting a comment like that. Try and show some class and human empathy for a lady who suffered a horrific death, just because you want to stir the pot by being hateful.
That tells us more about the type of person YOU are.

Claire Robinson said...

Gibbie was beautiful. She had elegance, class, beauty, kindness...in the words of the late, great Terry Wogan (Grim will know) she had it all!

John - that crime is absolutely harrowing! Her death haunted me for days if not weeks. I would lie awake at night and think of her and would shake my husband awake asking if he thought she had suffered..Even now I think of her and hope it wasn’t as bad as it seems.

beauders said...

Even Manson knew it was not good to die in fear and these people were terrified.

grimtraveller said...

beauders said...

Even Manson knew it was not good to die in fear and these people were terrified

Manson's comment that people shouldn't die in fear is among his dumber statements. Tied up in their house, how could they not be afraid ? Facing guns and knives, they're going to be calm ?