Monday, August 27, 2018

Reflexion by Lynette Fromme; Part Two: pp. 98 thru 166

The experiences, perceptions and feelings as Lynette remembers them continues through 1967 and into 1968. There's a lot of information flying by in these pages, both biographical, historical but I can't stress enough what is most important: the way Lynette remembers those days. Here are things that jumped off the pages at me.

Manson, talking about a passing train:
"You could look at the cars as lifetimes," he continued. "And the spaces between are called 'nowhere' and 'nothing' and 'everywhere' and 'everything,' and you just ride in your own car, and the time track goes forever in both directions - yet it's always now."
Sounds like he just touched on Einstein's Theory of Relativity...

Charlie leaves the girls to see his probee. On the way, through a conduit Lynette calls The Fat man Manson meets Dean Moorehouse (and Ruthann). Moorehouse quickly goes from a dour minister to a devotee. He is the one that tells him that he is "Man's Son". I did not know that Dean was the source of that label.


Lynette's thoughts about what she was learning from him during the Summer of Love was summed up for me in this short passage:
My resistance surrendered, then as he said something I thought profound:
"What you feel is what you give, not what I give. You feel your own love."
On snitching:
He quoted Genesis to Father Mike, "First was the word, and the word was God", but he put more emphasis on the word "word" than on "God.". "Breach of word", he said, "breaks people away from the God in themselves."
Something I didn't know: They didn't get the piano that they traded for the bus from Dean Moorehouse. It came from The Fat Man.

Interspersed throughout the book are letters Fromme received from Manson (and others) from prison. The first of these is shared in this section. It is from 1986 and is autobiographical. This paragraph about his mother jumped out at me:
Moms would run her prison trip to me, how the food was so bad, and her job. Her job was sweeping and mopping the killing floor where men were hung. One day they came to hang a guy when she was still in the mop room, and she hid, and wasn't seen. They set the trap and the noose and something went wrong. The man was too big or the rope wasn't right and his head popped off. It came off his body and rolled down the steps to where she was hiding and she said it blinked at her. Her fear of that ran off onto me, and I took it and never realized until I was on death row for nine counts of murder and seven death sentences on a trip not my own.
Jeezuz, that paragraph is loaded with imagery that ties into his story in more ways than I can possibly try to delve into in a short post. I have though, always believed we carry ancestral experiences and fear in our bodies that can shape our lives in more ways than we can control consciously.

It was during this time window that they met the "florid and gentle" Patty Krenwinkel - who would go on "to, arguably, the most inexplicable mass homicide of its time" at the house of one of Manson's Terminal Island acquaintances. This coincided with Charlie's early encounter at the recording studio with producer Gary Stromberg after which Fromme "was imagining success and fame, but Charlie wondered aloud, 'What would they do with Christ?" (Talking about their previous conversation with Stromberg over what sounded like early ideas for Jesus Christ Superstar - but I could be off-base there). To me, Manson was more in the MOMENT of that philosophical conversation than thinking about what might be in the future.

Pat leaves town with them in the VW Bus and they travel up the Pacific coast:
... [Patty was a] stabilizer amongst women, a listener who demanded no attention for herself, an inspiration and conscience toward our own better attitudes, she was so easy to like that Mary couldn't stay mad [about including her in the now growing group].
...We camped in Washington and Oregon with all the natural amenities: plush green carpets, songbird canopies, clear water and air. For brief interludes we heard the summer's symphony without one beep, whine or groan from a machine, and were the only humans on Earth. 
...Tucked into woods at night, he said that all the money in the world was not worth the experience of being there with us.
This should make Panamint Patty's ears perk up:
One day I entered a room where Father Mike was standing over his open briefcase; in it were many plastic bags of marijuana and LSD. Beyond the startled second, he closed the case and behaved as though I'd seen nothing. I think now that Father Mike may have been a distributor for the Brotherhood of Love.
I haven't had a ton of time to read and post but I'll tell you, I'm enjoying the hell out of this book. Apart from interests about learning about "the motives" and so on I always want to get into the heads of the people who were there for the entire ride and see things through their eyes. Fromme is giving that to me!



86 comments:

Doug Smith said...

This sounds really interesting. 4 more days til my copy us due to arrive. You've whet my appetite with this section's nuggets

brownrice said...

Excellent review, Matt.

StillGrooving said...

I am also reading the book - just got the point where they meet Pat. That long letter from Manson was so depressing to read. The stuff CM was exposed to as a young boy is just heart wrenching. I'm not saying his horrid youth turned him into the monster that he became as an adult, but, wow. All the people he looked up to and got guidance from were on the dark side of humanity.

Matthew Record said...

Talking again of Patricia. "People of like-spirit welcomed her, and she smiled, quietly thrilled. Patty deserved this vacation. Only in hindsight do I wonder, At what cost? But at that time in her life, and under those circumstances, could she have done otherwise? " page 146.

Mr. Humphrat said...

One story that sticks with me is the part when Charlie, Lyn and others are at the home of a psychologist and the man is going on how he wants to help the needy and Charlie suggests he should sell his furniture and give the money to the poor and the man balks at that. Lyn seems to agree with Charlie on this by her comments and I find her attitude bizarre.

I'm up to the start of 1969 and agree with earlier commenters that (so far, for me) the early part of the book with just Lyn, Mary and Charlie is the strongest material. I just read the part with Dennis Wilson and found it disappointing compared to most of the material before it, both in her attitude towards the subject and in the writing style.

GreenWhite said...

Excellent review. I found Fromme's impressions of Hinman interesting although I can't remember if they're within this span of pages. I see people leaving negative comments on FB and etc about how angry they are that she didn't reveal any new info regarding the motives. True. But she's a good writer, in first person even which is no easy task, and fills in the background nicely. Further, I don't know why people think she'd be willing to risk going back to prison until she dies by saying yup, you folks arguing with one another across the Internet the past 20 years guessed it. We were all CIA agents and the three eyed baby is real and Garretson was in on it from jump street and Rosemary was gay blah blah blah. All at the low low price of $30 to $40 per reader. How can anyone want to know about the Manson cases but discard everything that doesn't specifically spill the beans in a provable way? What kind of scholarship is that?

Peter said...

I was particularly disappointed that she picked up the "Gary was a homosexual drug dealer." Especially because she hedges on the statement by prefacing it with an "I later heard that ..." or something to that affect. My take on this is she knows it's a lie, but it's central to Bobby's story and, well, Gary is dead and gone and a brother is still in jail. But it was the first solid indication that not all in the book was what it appears to be.

RudyWebersHose said...

How do you know its a lie? Did you know Hinman?

Peter said...

No. But nobody other then members of the Family have ever said either of those things about him.

RudyWebersHose said...

Im sure quite a few said he was both

Chanel said...

Lynette mentions a couple of times that Charlie knew an Australian prison rhyming slang. That stood out to me as it would also be known as Cockney and Helter Skelter is also rhyming slang.


In a prison interview with Charlie he mentions that Helter Skelter has always meant confusion, which is its text book definition.


Does anyone know if he used the slang Helter Skelter before the release of the White album? If he did use the term and then it shows up in a Beatles record that would definitely help explain the intense interest in that record.

RudyWebersHose said...

Ive never understood why even if the White Album and the song Helter Skelter was talked about alot at the ranch why it would be such a unique thing, my mom was 19 when that album came out and she said it was HUGE at the time, she got it as soon as it came out even though she wasn't a huge Beatles fan, i understand the young people at Spahn talking about it and the writing on the walls thing but you have to remember these are 18-25 year olds and even though they're isolated theyre still aware of and hypnotized by trends just like people today, if it was some obscure musical group i could understand how it would stick out but not the Beatles

CATSCRADLE77 said...

Don’t know exactly what it is but. Watch the Latest Trailer for Fox's Inside the Manson Cult: The Lost Tapes https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/08/fox-manson-documentary-first-look.html via @pastemagazine

Carlos said...

Outstanding review!

Your point about the contributions from others is an excellent one, and I would specifically also call out PK’s words from 1970 on pages 143 and 144. Between these words and LF’s observations about Pat and the eventual “inexplicable mass homicide” we get an introduction to Pat in the very early days of the Family that I’ve never seen before.

This set of pages is also where we first get some descriptions of conversations and actions that suggest darker aspects of Manson’s personality and world view. We get examples of a guy on the road with several women who is beginning to be openly misogynistic to them. And we get examples of his views on race and race relations. There’s nuance and complexity here that we rarely see, and that’s helpful and insightful regardless of whether or not the reader agrees or disagrees with Manson.

We also get on page 158 another quote from Manson I found highly interesting at this point in the story, though not at all surprising. Manson remarks on how “the land belongs to no one and everyone.” Interesting sense of entitlement.

We see some important themes emerge and begin to grow in this section, and they are very well presented.

Chanel said...

Rudy;

The reason it stands out is that Helter Skelter at the time was obscure so if your guru is using phrases that suddenly appear on an album by the biggest group, it would stand out as special.

It is possible that Manson met some of the Beatles which would have furthered that connection between his philosophy and the album. Maybe he even used the term in their presence and they thought it funny enough to use in a song.

Coincidence or not, if Manson used the phrase before the album was released it would resonate more for the group than some teen buying the album because its the Beatles.

Carlos said...

Chanel said...

It is possible that Manson met some of the Beatles...

Got any evidence of this you could share?

Maybe he even used the term in their presence...

Paul McCartney has spoken freely about the genesis and creation of the song HS, including an interview conducted before the official release date of the White Album. No mention of Charlie, though he did mention something about it being a metaphor for the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. He has also mentioned the genesis starting in ‘67 apparently at about the same time Charlie was just getting the Family going.

Chanel said...

Carlos:

https://thenumbernineblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/did-the-beatles-know-manson-getting-to-the-bottom-of-helter-skelter/

As I said just a possibility, but this article explores the possibility.

Peter said...

How are you sure? Do you know them?

Carlos said...

I much prefer this article:

http://www.beatlesebooks.com/helter-skelter

I can’t help but notice that while LF does describe at some length various meetings with music industry heavyweights, her new book makes no mention of anyone ever meeting a Beatle.

RudyWebersHose said...

Lol Manson never met the Beatles, he was a fuckin two bit criminal with shit for brains living on a "ranch" that makes the local trailer court look like Holmby Hills, the closest he got to the Beatles was seeing them in a newspaper

RudyWebersHose said...

Also how was Helter Skelter the song obscure? It was on the Number One album by the most popular musical group in the history of the world

RudyWebersHose said...

Theres a guy with a youtube channel (i wont mention the name) who claimed awhile back that he had a picture in his possession of Manson shaking hands with McCartney at some type of recording session with Dennis Wilson in the picture as well, as predicted he never provided the picture lol

Mr. Humphrat said...

some notes:



p. 114 Kind of ironic that Lyn relates Charlie being concerned about the law not being able to protect young runaway from predatory behavior...huh?? Lyn didn't address the irony of that at all and I don't think she mentions age in relation to any of the girls being with Charlie-maybe someone else remembers if she did.

p. 127- From Charlie's letter: "when [Uncle]Bill seen I didn't fight, he put a dress on me and sent me to school. Then Granny gave me a witches hat to wear in the cake walk."
I never heard of a cake walk but it sounds funny.....[later he says] "Uncle Bill's dress had taught me to fight and I think I caused the invention of bicycle locks because when I started stealing bikes there were no locks." (that reminds me of my dad telling stories where he thought his dad had been the first person to do such and so and started a trend. He sent a letter to Levi's saying the staples in their jeans hurt him and soon after that they went to stitching)

p 133-from Charlie's letter-the story of Klepto and the card game very amusing.

p 140-from Charlie's letter-(here's a line he should've used in his lyrics)
"I didn't fake or snitch but I was still a hick."

p. 148- Charlie talking about black men thinking they want to be with white women says: "The real African man thinks white people look like bloodless turnips." I like that one. In an earlier part of the book Charlie and a black woman flirt in front of Lyn and Charlie says to the black woman, "I see you, woman, but I'm not your man." He explained to Lyn that her man was a black man. She thought it was racist and challenged him. He said he didn't look down on other races, just thought they were different and knew who he was, that he was white.

p. 159-up along Puget Sound Lyn sees a darker side of Charlie-misanthrophic. The girls feel separate from him as he pushes them away and it is eventually resolved. An interesting little story.


jerseydevil said...

Fox channel has a new documentary The Manson gang the lost tapes on September 17 Variety magazine has a preview clip online it looks like there using a lot of Robert Hendrickson's footage from his film's just wondering if they had permission from his family for use of the footage

jerseydevil said...

Sorry Cat's cradle didn't see you already mentioned the documentary

AstroCreep said...

The world according to Google:

Helter Skelter- “the term long pre-dates fairground ride and has been used to mean disorderly haste or confusion since at least the 16th century”......

Maybe Charlie breathed the idea into a dead bird that flew back in time and whispered it into Thomas Nashe’s ear in 1592. Or maybe they were tripping their balls off... whichever.

RudyWebersHose said...

By Fox Channel do you mean Fox news or Foxs main channel?

Carlos said...

Mr. Humphrat said...

... I don't think she mentions age in relation to any of the girls being with Charlie-maybe someone else remembers if she did.

LF is certainly honest about the ages of several of Family members, including pointing out Ruth’s special status courtesy of her brief marriage.

Robert C said...

AstroCreep said: "Helter Skelter- “the term long pre-dates fairground ride and has been used to mean disorderly haste or confusion since at least the 16th century”......"

I remember people using the helter-skelter expression in the 50's, long before Manson came on the stage, and was similar to another common expression back then called pell-mell. When I first heard helter-skelter associated with the MF in '70 I knew exactly what it meant and what they meant.

I never knew helter-skelter defined a children's ride in England until much later. But the ride never defined the term ... it was the other way around.

Carlos said...

Regarding Manson possibly meeting any of the Beatles and even inspiring the song HS by using the term in front of them, I’ll simply add this from Manson’s testimony in November, 1970:

It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says, "Rise!" It says, "Kill!" Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music. I am not the person who projected it into your social consciousness, that sanity that you projected into your social consciousness, today.

Panamint Patty said...

He didn't say he had it get your facts straight

Panamint Patty said...

The story is that Chris Carter says Rodney bingenheimer has it. Never confirmed. You say otherwise then provide the link.

Carlos said...

Matt noted this excerpt written by Manson:

Moms would run her prison trip to me, how the food was so bad, and her job. Her job was sweeping and mopping the killing floor where men were hung. One day they came to hang a guy when she was still in the mop room, and she hid, and wasn't seen. They set the trap and the noose and something went wrong. The man was too big or the rope wasn't right and his head popped off. It came off his body and rolled down the steps to where she was hiding and she said it blinked at her. Her fear of that ran off onto me, and I took it and never realized until I was on death row for nine counts of murder and seven death sentences on a trip not my own.

Somehow I just couldn’t accept that at face value.

As I understand from the biographical information I have read, his mom was in prison in West Virginia from 1939 to 1942. Executions in the US are public matters, and the death penalty has long been a topic of much scrutiny and debate. So it is easy to find historical information such as this web site:

http://deathpenaltyusa.org/usa1/state/west_virginia.htm

If this information is accurate, there were only two executions in the years 1939 through 1942, both in 1940, which would make her job a fairly easy one. I can find nothing obvious about either of these two executions resulting in a decapitation, but it is interesting to find out that the last public hanging in West Virginia was in 1931 at that prison, and it was the last public hanging, because that dude did lose his head.

I have to wonder if either Mom was embelishing in a massive way or Manson was really confused or Manson was just lying. Maybe Mom really was trying to instill some fear into Charlie.

Matt said...

Good work, Carlos.


Matt said...

Panamint Patty said...
The story is that Chris Carter says Rodney bingenheimer has it.


I also heard that Rodney B has said photo, but not from any YouTube personality. A different source altogether. Rodney has not produced it, so it remains rumor.


Doug Smith said...

I know a few people close to Rodney (including one of his 80's "crushes/non-gf" and, now that I know this photo is supposed to be in RB's possession, I am gonna do some digging around.
I would think someone like Don Bolles might have seen it.
My belief is it's an urban legend though

Carlos said...

Regarding Manson’s mom’s hanging story, something else was nagging me about, so I did some quick searching through my library. Nuel Emmons’ book has essentially the same story with one significant difference:

She swears the eyes were still wide open and that death literally stared her right in the face.

This time the head ain’t blinking but just staring at her.

DebS said...

Carlos, I looked that up, too. I found newspaper articles for each hanging and both were done at night. I don't think that prisons have prisoners work a swing or graveyard shift. The prisoners get locked up after dinner and they do head counts. Also, there is usually a guard or trustee overseeing a prisoner no matter where they are assigned to work. So, the story is probably made up.

However, it's entirely possible that Manson's mom made it up to try to scare him. She wasn't known to be the most honest person nor the most motherly person, either.

Peter said...

Who are the Van Deutsches?

RudyWebersHose said...

On a non related TLB topic, i was listening to the Springer interview for the millionth time but for some reason i hadnt paid attention to the fact that it was Patchett and Guiterrez the Labianca detectives who did the interview even though it seems Springer was spilling the beans about Charlies comments regarding the "we got 5 pigs just the other night" so he goes to Venice PD and tells them then Venice calls Parker Center and puts Springer in touch with them, were Cielo and Waverly officially connected by Nov 12th? I know Susan talked to Graham a few days before that but didnt it take a couple of days for her to tell a higher up at Sybil Brand about that? Or were the two crimes connected after cops talked to Lutesinger in October?

bucpaul2812 said...

"Carlos said...

Chanel said...

It is possible that Manson met some of the Beatles..."

The only potentially fleeting, tenuous frame of reference I can pull out of the air here is that George Harrison visited the Haight for all of about five minutes during the Summer of Love. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank. Seriously. I don't recall any accounts of any of the other three Beatles having been there.

bucpaul2812 said...

Just ordered my copy and am looking forward to going through it with a fine tooth comb.

Dan S said...

Lol! More incontrovertible proof he's Jesus!

grimtraveller said...

RudyWebersHose said...

On a non related TLB topic, i was listening to the Springer interview for the millionth time but for some reason i hadnt paid attention to the fact that it was Patchett and Guiterrez the Labianca detectives who did the interview even though it seems Springer was spilling the beans about Charlies comments regarding the "we got 5 pigs just the other night" so he goes to Venice PD and tells them then Venice calls Parker Center and puts Springer in touch with them, were Cielo and Waverly officially connected by Nov 12th? Were the two crimes connected after cops talked to Lutesinger in October?

The LaBianca cops seemed more willing to look into oddities than the Tate ones at first. They, for example, picked up on the bloody wall and fridge scrawlings at Waverly having a connection to lyrics of songs on what was then the latest proper Beatle album. After their leads had vamoosed, they asked the cops at LASO for help and heard about Gary Hinman's death and Kitty. That got them looking a little closer at the Family which I guess included people that were known to be close to them which is how they heard about DeCarlo and his bike club which were from Venice. So when the Venice cops were talking to Al Springer on some shenanigans not connected to TLB they got in touch with the LaBianca cops as they were trying to get hold of a Straight Satan and they thought Springer might know Danny.
In their book, Bugliosi and Gentry peg that Springer interview as an important turning point. Pretty much from that point the dice started tumbling in one particular direction, what with what was going on at Sybil Brand jail with Susan Atkins. Interestingly a couple of weeks previous, Vern Plumlee and Ed Bailey had told Steve Zabriske that both Cielo and Waverly murders were committed by the same people and he'd told the Portland Police but they never followed it up. If there's one person whom I'd love to have seen an interview from, it's Steve Zabriske. I don't know how Gentry got hold of him {or what happened to him after} but someone called Michael Lloyd Carter was also present when Zabriske was told this stuff and the Oregon cop that did a 'Jess Buckles' was called Sergeant Ritchard which kinds of lends some credibility to it all.

Mr. Humphrat said...

just Lyn, Mary and Charlie

Having never heard it before, it came as a surprise to know that Squeaky was pregnant with Charlie's child.

Matt said...

the way Lynette remembers those days

I have mixed feelings about the book in its entirety.
That said, when I read interviews and autobiographies, one of the things I always look out for and treasure are how the person speaking/writing feels about others that were around. If I'm reading the autobiog of a footballer, I'm fascinated to know how they got on with or felt about other characters that are known to me like the manager or team mates. If I'm reading about a musician or singer, I'm always looking into how they got on with or felt about bandmates, fellow artists, engineers etc. I thought it was interesting how Ruth caused Lyn to feel inadequate {pg110} and imperfect. Because Charlie tended to her in the most positive way he could, her reflections of him aren't surprising to me.

grimtraveller said...

Matt said...

Pat leaves town with them in the VW Bus

Throughout the book, some of the tenderest, most respectful words are said about Pat. Perhaps even more than Squeaky, Pat is the Family member that seems to rate the highest praise among ex Family members. One gets the feeling that Lyn really had a lot of love for Pat and that Pat's influence in her life was quite large without being specific. The way things got ugly in the Family was particularly tragic for people like Pat who, by her own observation, came into that scenario with very little self esteem but who, at times seemed to really find her place and was something of a silent strongpost, always there.

grimtraveller said...

Peter said...

Who are the Van Deutsches?

A family of pseudonyms !

bucpaul2812 said...

Chanel said...

"It is possible that Manson met some of the Beatles"

The only potentially fleeting, tenuous frame of reference I can pull out of the air here is that George Harrison visited the Haight for all of about five minutes during the Summer of Love. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank


George's ex~wife, Pattie Boyd, in her autobiography "Wonderful Today" describes the day they visited the Haight. George has talked about it a number of times and has long said that it was a turning point for him and that he stopped taking acid after what he saw there. His view of the place pretty much mirrors that of Charlie.
I doubt that Charlie ever met any Beatles. We'd never have heard the end of it if that were the case !

StillGrooving said...

I'm not saying his horrid youth turned him into the monster that he became as an adult, but, wow

While never a popular observation, I think that a horrid youth can turn someone into a monster. An old mate of mine used to say that "hurt people hurt people" and there's some truth in that. It obviously doesn't apply to everyone but in a sense, that's kind of irrelevant. It applies to those that happened to have been affected that way. Not every person that has been abused, whether sexually, violently or neglectfully is going to respond in exactly the same way and it is too simple to prescribe how someone in that situation should behave.

Matt said...

The experiences, perceptions and feelings as Lynette remembers them continues through 1967 and into 1968

The hardest thing to get to grips with was that, that she was describing things as she remembered them being at the time. We have a 49 year history and many debates, discussions and arguments as the backdrop; she was trying to be in the 'now' then {or in the 'then' now.
However, that lessens, the further into the book she gets.

StillGrooving said...

Off topic, but I just read this story about Tarantino's casting for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/quentin-tarantinos-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-casts-its-charles-manson/ar-BBMA9dv?ocid=spartandhp

RudyWebersHose said...

Grim my point was that if Al was referred to Patchett by Nov 12th then Cielo and Waverly killings had to have been linked by investigators since the incriminating statements by Manson about killing 5 pigs the other night was referring to Cielo, since Springer says Charlie told him this on the 12th its also strange he didnt say we got 7 pigs instead of 5

RudyWebersHose said...

Sounds like a definite embellishment on either a rumor Manson heard or just from reading about the story, he has talked about his moms time in Moundsville prison in a few different interviews

Matthew Record said...

The Tarantino film is about a fading hollywood cowboy and a stunt man. Wounder if any was taken from the lives of Randy Starr and/or Shorty Shea?

grimtraveller said...

RudyWebersHose said...

if Al was referred to Patchett by Nov 12th then Cielo and Waverly killings had to have been linked by investigators

By that 2nd LaBianca report of mid October '69, the LaBianca cops seemed to be looking at the two crimes as linked, though not officially.

Carlos said...

I would specifically also call out PK’s words from 1970 on pages 143 and 144

Throughout the book, I found it fascinating that she includes the writings of a number of members that have been known to or heavily rumoured, to have turned their backs on the whole Manson oeuvre, of whom Pat is one.

DebS said...

Good question Matthew. Tarantino is rebuilding parts of Corriganville for his movie and I know that Shorty worked there for a time in the 50s. Not sure about Randy Starr though.

http://iversonmovieranch.blogspot.com/

christopher butche said...

Paul McCartney was in LA performing at the headquarters of Capitol Records in 1968 when Manson lived with Wilson. Beach Boys were also on Capitol. McCartney performed Blackbird and a few other tunes.

Carlos said...

Grim said...

While never a popular observation, I think that a horrid youth can turn someone into a monster.

There is a growing body of research that reaches the same conclusion, and not all ears or minds are open to it. My preferred take on it is more along the lines of “a caring, loving and nurturing youth can prevent a congenitally latent monster from becoming a real monster,” but the science is still evolving and we shall see. People who are familiar with some of the research will recall the scientist who discovered fundamental differences in the brains of a number of killers and then happened to notice the same pattern in a control brain scan which turned out to be his own brain. He has credited his upbringing for making him a scientist and not a serial killer.

Your comment about not being a popular observation reminds me of a panel discussion on some talk show years ago involving Sandra and a prison reform guy; I imagine many of us have seen it. There was a surprising amount of audience hostility at times, in true talk show fashion, directed at the prison reformer whose main point was that society should stop doing things that are going to turn some of these kids into monsters.

Circling back to LF’s book, I think it’s worth noting how the book indicates via personal reflections that with the exception of Charlie, the Family members did not have terribly abusive childhoods, especially while very young and impressionable, though in every case something was lacking in some deep, personal sense that was powerful enough to cause a person to get into a car with strangers and drive away. That’s one of the book’s major contributions.

Carlos said...

christopher butche said...

Paul McCartney was in LA performing at the headquarters of Capitol Records in 1968 when Manson lived with Wilson. Beach Boys were also on Capitol.

Everything I know about the Beach Boys at that time frame is that they had already achieved the clout to completely avoid the usual haunts of the LA music business in favor of Brian’s home studio. Paul visiting HQ does nothing to convince me he ever met Manson.

Carlos said...

Grim said...

Throughout the book, I found it fascinating that she includes the writings of a number of members that have been known to or heavily rumoured, to have turned their backs on the whole Manson oeuvre, of whom Pat is one.

Yes, and what makes these writings so powerful and relevant in the context of the book’s narrative is how they reveal thoughts and emotions and lifestyle before things deteriorated into mass murder. Maybe LF’s motivation for referring to Pat and the “inexplicable mass homicide” the way she does is because mass homicide is the last thing one would ever have expected of Pat, whether Pat did it to start HS or to get a brother out of jail or anything else.

christopher butche said...

I wasn't claiming that merely responding to the statement that the only Beatle activity was Harrison in SF in 1967. If anything if Manson was indeed overly interested in the lyrics of the group it doesn't seem too much of a stretch for me to imagine him using the influence of his housemate to gain access to one of his apparent sages. That he didn't could be seen as the assertion that he was obsessed with The Beatles to be over played.

grimtraveller said...

Carlos said...

Circling back to LF’s book, I think it’s worth noting how the book indicates via personal reflections that with the exception of Charlie, the Family members did not have terribly abusive childhoods, especially while very young and impressionable

I guess that depends on what one classes as abusive. Maybe she just never had those deep personal conversations with Susan, Bruce, Bobby and Dianne. For some people, it only takes one episode to begin a slightly warped journey, be that a rape, incestuous sexual abuse from your brother and his mates or your grandad taking a naked bath with you and wanking in your presence. It's incredible how often those things become compounded by other unsavoury or unsettling events and people.
But I do want to clarify what I was saying earlier about a horrid childhood turning someone into a monster. That is not to justify the things that 'monster' may go on to do or to say "oh well, you can't blame them, they were terribly abused as kids." If I was beaten regularly as a child for matters that should never have warranted such and my 'carer' was taking out their anger and frustration on me and from that I recognize from that that I can gain a measure of control over certain people to get what I want, those actions of someone 'other' has helped make me what I become. But that does not mean that I escape responsibility for my actions or not controlling myself.

Maybe LF’s motivation for referring to Pat and the “inexplicable mass homicide” the way she does is because mass homicide is the last thing one would ever have expected of Pat, whether Pat did it to start HS or to get a brother out of jail or anything else

I thought that was a really interesting use of words when she said that. When she, Sandy and Brenda were talking with Laurence Merrick on film, there was no thought then that it was inexplicable. They were all very forthright about why and how right it was.
Every so often in the book, Squeaky makes oblique statements that make it appear that she was not comfortable with some of the things that went on to happen via the Family but she doesn't want to come out and say and certainly doesn't want to ascribe any of the negativity to Charlie. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself there. These are still early days.

Peter said...

The book describes a family that is much more fluid than Bugluosi portrayed. Many people seemed to drift in an out of the family and several had strong independent personalities that clashed with Manson's. And even though they may have turned their backs on their families for the most part, the book references that Lynette, Sandy, Cappy, Dianne, Brenda all had at least occasional contact with their families even if just to ask for money.

It really calls into question the brainwashing, Manson as Hippie Svengali element.

StillGrooving said...
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StillGrooving said...

Something I notice in the first half of the book is how Lynette constantly mentions Charlie's generosity. He gave away a lot of belongings, including vehicles and cash. I see this a little differently because most of what Charlie so generously offered to other people were things that came from other people or belonged to other people. It is easier to hand out other people's money than to hand out your own.

Robert C said...

Peter said: " The book describes a family that is much more fluid than Bugluosi portrayed. "

This and other things posted have already been discussed infinitum in years past but perhaps refreshers are in order.

StillGrooving: " It is easier to hand out other people's money than to hand out your own."

Quite true and to take it one step further it buys future favors, friendship and sometimes loyalty. Very commonly done among prisoners and politicians.

Carlos said...

Peter said...

It really calls into question the brainwashing, Manson as Hippie Svengali element.

It at least calls into question the very oversimplified, one-dimensional narrative about Charlie as “cult leader” that we’ve too often seen. That’s an important thing.

Taken in total, the book convinces me more than ever that Charlie was fundamentally a liar and a con and a manipulater. But it also confirms my long held belief that Charlie was not some cartoonishly evil caricature in absolute domination over an army of robotic hippies. If I had to summarize everything the book says about Charlie into one soundbite it would be this: Charlie used people anyway he could and had no regrets or remorse about it whatsoever.

RudyWebersHose said...

Very apt description of Manson, i totally agree

RudyWebersHose said...

Funny, ive always thought the same thing about Charlies "generosity", one thing that really got on my nerves during interviews with him was his criticism of people working trying to make money to survive, its pretty easy to sit back and relax when your food, clothing, housing, medical needs are taken care of by the state, granted its prison but he also seemed to forget all the shady shit for money while he was on the street

RudyWebersHose said...

Lynette breaking down crying during her little tough chick act with the rifle tells me she was conflicted even then

Robert C said...

Carlos said: " It at least calls into question the very oversimplified, one-dimensional narrative about Charlie as “cult leader” that we’ve too often seen. That’s an important thing. "

That is, if you buy into what Fromme is saying hook, line and sinker. She still being one of his more devoted acolytes. To me he's still a one-dimensional cult leader among other things.

Carlos said: " If I had to summarize everything the book says about Charlie into one soundbite it would be this: Charlie used people anyway he could and had no regrets or remorse about it whatsoever. "

Which pretty much describes most prisoners doing lengthy prison sentences. The main thing is they all simply can't take care of themselves in a civilized society.

Carlos said...

Robert C said...

That is, if you buy into what Fromme is saying hook, line and sinker. She still being one of his more devoted acolytes.

Two points are worth noting. First, since the discussion was about calling something into question rather than providing irrefutable proof of something, the bar is set fairly low, at least for me. All it takes to call something into question is a handful of counter examples and contradictions, and I think the book achieves that easily.

Second, and very relevant to the first, I don’t have to buy the book hook, line and sinker. I can have a very healthy dose of skepticism and still reach the same conclusions. All I have to do is gain some reasonable assurance that the book is honest. I’ve read the book twice now, and I’m sufficiently satisfied with its honesty to reach a few conclusions from it all. How did I gain that assurance? Two main things. One, this is not the first book to explore the Family during this era, so I can compare LF’s story to the stories told by others and examine how well they align. Many anecdotes in LF’s book are new to me, and generally quite interesting, and they fit the timeline of events I already know wonderfully. Two, there are red flags I can look for, especially from a devoted acolyte, such as being self-aggrandizing, omitting obvious examples of known bad behavior, and overall tone. The book does well in this regard. It is clearly not a tribute to Charlie in any way whatsoever. It points out flaws; it supports the idea that for at least the first two years or so, Charlie’s primary ambition was to be a successful musician and to live off other people while getting there; it describes how much dissatisfaction there was at times including dissatisfaction with Charlie.

I don’t doubt for a second that Charlie had tremendous influence over a core group of the Family; but there’s much more in play than overpowering brainwashing.

None of us were there, and we will all reach our own conclusions. I’m comfortable with the conclusions Lyn’s book has helped me reach, because I have been able to reach them with that healthy dose of skepticism and some reasonable critical thinking. I appreciate that others may reach different conclusions, or no conclusions at all.

Doug Smith said...

RWH - While I do believe that this was a very real/deeply emotional experience for Lynette, I also believe that she was/is an EXTREMELY savvy and intelligent person who was a voracious student (school/life/Charlie/environmental issues/human behaviour/etc) and, that she was a masterful spokesperson and, media frontliner for the Family/Charlie/ATWA/her beliefs. Sandra too. VERY PERCEPTIVE, EXTREMELY ADEPT and, SHARP AS A TACK.
Extremely admirable and, vitally important to the cause(s)/movement. GLUE.
Perhaps why she/they were never chosen to do the (for lack of a better term) "grunt work" & risk being jailed/lost to the enterprise.
Just a thought

Carlos said...

Doug Smith said...

... she was a masterful spokesperson and, media frontliner for the Family/Charlie/ATWA/her beliefs. Sandra too.

Interesting point.

For my money, Catherine Share is the one who has always stood out as a truly masterful spokesperson. For example, one of most compelling scenes in RH’s film is the scene with Catherine speaking about the media circus and the distraction from other issues like Nixon and Vietnam and the obsession with “that awful man,” meaning Charlie of course. Other scenes like her thoughts about being one with the people in jail are also fascinating to me. Her education and maturity relative to the others really stands out. There’s something there in her messages that actually has the potential to reach a fairly broad audience and give them pause to think and to maybe even change perception. Without that capacity, how could one ever call it being a masterful spokesperson?

In so many of the interviews I have seen of that era - ‘71 to ‘73 or so - LF and Sandy come across as simply unhinged. They’re examples that the media can seize in order to present the oversimplified narrative of an evil hippie cult. In other words, they are terrible spokespeople, because they are guaranteed to present an image beyond just their words, and that image does the Family no favors in many quarters. Any meaningful message is lost, because the media is only going to show the ten or twenty second clip describing how Los Angeles will now burn to the ground or something similar. That’s unfortunate given how important things like saving the environment really are.

One aspect of the book I love the best is that the writings of both Lyn and Sandy, at least with respect to the era the book covers, lets them express themselves in ways they never really seemed to be able to do in the format of an interview.

Logan said...

One thing that struck me are the amount of "borrowed" cars that everyone is driving/riding in throughout the book. LOL! ;)
I thoroughly enjoyed it, though. Quite grateful to Ms Fromme (& Mr Stimson) for releasing the memoir to the general public.
Still trying to sort out what I think about her book. She's certainly a good writer!

grimtraveller said...

Peter said...

The book describes a family that is much more fluid than Bugluosi portrayed

Very much so. But in reality, his emphasis was on the Charlie end of things and the way information came to him, that's what he saw when it came to the major characters. But you've read the trial transcripts; do you find that they, to a large extent present a subtly different picture to what turned up in his and Gentry's book ? I do. The book is 600+ pages and it easily could've been Shreck sized. Crazy as it seems it's actually pretty concise. But in the trial questioning, it came out that the family were quite fluid at times, like Babs Hoyt just upping and skipping one day with one of the girls to go looking for Karate Dave or Paul, going off to Barker. We know Tex disappeared for a while and that he wasn't even a Family member for that long. Ditto Brooks. Bruce went abroad for a few months, Pat says she left a couple of times etc.
Squeaky naturally presents a more fluid picture than Bugliosi but not particularly fluid. It seems that at least prior to the disintegration, they stuck around together because they wanted to. I've long had the impression that a major part of the Family circa '67-68 was travelling. And interestingly, in the same period, Linda was doing likewise.

several had strong independent personalities that clashed with Manson's

Well, we kind of knew that with folk like Zero, Kitty, Bobby and Susan. And there were stories of clashes with Mary {interestingly, from the trial itself}. And long before her book, it was no secret Dianne rubbed Charlie up the wrong way.

It really calls into question the brainwashing, Manson as Hippie Svengali element

Or emphasizes his subtlety.
Lyn speaks in the book of her reading that acid was good for psychological cleansing and let's face it, not just with the Family, it {in combination with other important factors} played its part in helping to shift {not necessarily always change} the mindsets of so many people in that period all over the western world.
In saying all that though, I hate all this 'brainwashing cuties into evil' notion where the Family are concerned because it oversimplifies and overlooks some quite simple and relatively mundane processes that were happening in both directions.

Monica said...
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Monica said...

Loving this book and that she doesn't, as of page 170 where I am, come across as a total groupie. There is a sense of wisdom and humor. I am learning a lot!

The Van Deutches chapter is fascinating. Wonder where they are now. While reading, I keep wondering where many of the people we've never (as of this book) heard of are now. Good stuff.

Bingenheimer issue, for what it's worth: no.

grimtraveller said...

RudyWebersHose said...

one thing that really got on my nerves during interviews with him was his criticism of people working trying to make money to survive

To add to that, the implied conclusion that people not living their kind of lifestyle knew nothing about real life or joy has long irked me. Lots of people all over the globe hold down a regular life in one place and get oodles out of it ~ along with the realities and toughness of life that no one can avoid.

Carlos said...

the writings of both Lyn and Sandy, at least with respect to the era the book covers, lets them express themselves in ways they never really seemed to be able to do in the format of an interview

Oh, I don't know, back in the day they both seemed to be pretty adept at expressing themselves. Their problem wasn't their youth or even the media as such ~ it was the content of their messages. One of the really interesting things for me is Lynette at nearly 70 writing about when she was younger, so much younger than today.......and contrasting that with the things she was actually saying back then. When Hendrickson and Merrick were around, she & Sandy and a number of the others had ample opportunity to say what they wanted and to sympathetic ears. When you tell someone holding a camera or tape recorder that snitches and other enemies will be taken care of, everyone hearing and watching that knows they're not talking about steam baths, massages and cleaning their houses for them. They behaved back then in a threatening way and pretty much gave the media story upon story. It was youthful naivete in a way and one can say they stood up for what they believed. But that went a long way towards bolstering the media straitjacket that their troupe had been cast in. What are the papers meant to do when you say you'll set yourself alight if Charlie gets the death sentence ?

the writings of both Lyn and Sandy

I always pegged Squeaky as a creative and articulate writer but I have to say, Sandy really comes across as a good, wistful, reflective and thoughtful writer.
But I'm getting ahead of myself again !

It at least calls into question the very oversimplified, one-dimensional narrative about Charlie as “cult leader” that we’ve too often seen

Clem, Bruce, Mary, Sandy, Susan {telling the world the women were known as "Charlie's girls"}, Pat, Leslie, Cappy, Ouisch, Squeaky, Gypsy, Chuck and a few others reinforced that on the one hand and on the other, Paul, Brooks, Juan, Linda, Gregg J, Babs H and a couple of the people Sadie blabbed to added to that. Charlie didn't exactly help himself by telling Rolling Stone and others in public that Susan was going to recant, only for her to do so. And long before the Family was even known, back in '68, Charlie was identified as their leader when they were arrested in Ventura and also by the guys from the free clinic that did the group marriage study on them, these in the days when there wasn't any media image to reinforce. But back in the day there were even books out like "The Garbage People" that provided a more balanced picture in parts.
The thing about this entire saga is that whatever else it might be, it was never one dimensional.

Logan said...

Still trying to sort out what I think about her book

Yeah, same. I think different things about different parts. I feel irritated, illuminated, educated, amused, mournful. Definitely money well spent.
It's actually quite a touching account in parts, from someone that regarded Charlie as a friend and influence and I think that's important.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Grim, I don't know anything about Zero's strong personality clashing with Charlie-Can you fill me in? All I remember is speculation that he may have known something about TLB.

Regarding Brooks, my recollection was he was told/asked to stay up at Barker with Juanita by Charlie, so not really acting in an independent way.

And when Paul came up there I thought he was also sent there by Charlie. Can't remember for sure.

Also, when Squeaky and Sandy and Brenda were threatening snitches and acting like badasses for the movie, supposedly Charlie told them to act that way, and ham it up or whatever.

Gorodish said...

It'll really be cool if she writes a sequel book about the 1970's and beyond. I'd especially love to know her opinion of Loudon Wainwright III....

beauders said...

Gorodish, why would Fromme be interested in Loudon Wainwright III, am I missing something?

Gorodish said...
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Gorodish said...

beauders......

Classic Loudon Wainwright III from 1976......

California Prison Blues

grimtraveller said...

Mr. Humphrat said...

Regarding Brooks, my recollection was he was told/asked to stay up at Barker with Juanita by Charlie, so not really acting in an independent way.
And when Paul came up there I thought he was also sent there by Charlie. Can't remember for sure


You're right on both counts there although in his book Paul mentions that he was the one that asked Brooks to stay on at Barker and he also mentions that while they were at Gresham, Brooks came down to LA a few times to play music although each time he stayed with the Family, he got more and more zombied out. And Paul was looking, so he said, for a way to get away and up to Barker when Charlie had informed him that they were going to have to start HS. Then Charlie thwarted his plans only for their trailer to mess around so he then told Paul to get the supplies up there.
His book actually gives the impression that there was quite a bit of travelling, coming and going and that was partly where I thought of the Family fluidity although in the huge body of writing that exists all the way from "The Garbage People" through the trials, interviews, books and hearings up to Squeaky's book, I get the impression that things were pretty fluid ~ at times. That people could come, go and return kind of emphasizes the hold that Charlie had on the youngsters and that he did create around him, up to a point anyway, an environment in which those that stayed felt wanted, loved and comfortable.

I don't know anything about Zero's strong personality clashing with Charlie-Can you fill me in?

In "Death To Pigs" {pg 275-6} Laurence Merrick has a conversation with Paul that runs thus:

MERRICK: Paul, what about Christopher Jesus ?

WATKINS: Well, he was a guy that I knew in the desert and at Spahn's Ranch and I lived with him and talked with him and did things with him. And all of a sudden he got his head all blown apart.

M: Why do you think he got his head blown ? Why ?

W: I don't know why but I just know that he did.

M: Did he have a conflict with Charlie ?

W: Well, he never really did things the way Charlie wanted him to do it. He was always doing things his own way and he was young and spaced out. He just didn't care, man. And if he wanted to go out and leave the ranch and do something else, he'd go and do something else. If he wanted to go on a trip and do something, he did it.

M: And he rebelled against Charlie ?

W: And he rebelled against Charlie ? Well, Charlie could never control him. He always...he'd go out and do other things that, uh, when you're with the Family you only did...it was all one trip. You did what Charlie wanted to do.

M: Do you recall a conflict between he and Charlie ? Or Charlie told him off, whatever, to punish him ?

W: Um, no, I recall him tellin' me about him though...tell me about how he just did what he wanted to do and just said "Fuck Charlie, I'll do what I wanna do."

M: You don't recall anything Charlie said about him ?

W: No, I never talked to him after Zero got picked off.

The conversation took place at the end of October '70. In his own book 8 years later, he's nowhere near as forthcoming about Zero.
A couple of days earlier, Brooks spoke to Merrick about Susan being a challenge to Charlie "because she was the pushiest girl."

grimtraveller said...



Monica said...

While reading, I keep wondering where many of the people we've never (as of this book) heard of are now

It probably sounds like an awful thing to say, but most of the incidental folk mentioned in the book have no more interest to me than the people that were on the bus I was on two Thursdays ago. Were it not for Squeaky, I'd never have heard of most of them and were it not for Charlie's proximity to crime {because it's a subject I find interesting}, I doubt I'd be motivated to read her book unless I happened to be in jail and there was a library and little else to do but read.
She's a damned good and expressive writer and dare I say it, could've done some solid stuff in the creative arts. Rather like her mentor, there's {or there was, in his case} a positive side there that could have done some lasting good and in some ways, prison's gain was society's loss.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Thanks Grim so much more for me to read

beauders said...

Now how did I miss that. Something to put in my book.

beauders said...

For those interested in Jonestown "Stories From Jonestown" by Leigh Fordakowski is an excellently written and researched book and a must read.

tinkse7en ! said...

I want to read this, quite badly, especially having read the comments above. But my question is: where do the profits from the sales of this book go? Does the Son of Sam law apply in this case? Because LF DID attempt to assassinate a President (or, at the very least, pretend to try to assassinate him. I actually have more contempt for her for that! No wonder that Charlie didn't choose her for TLB).