Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Where's the Manson Bus?

Where is the blue Manson Bus that was photographed at Barker Ranch, today? Patty received permission this week to tell you the story that Paul Dostie told Matt, Liz and her in May, 2012.

The story goes like this:

Susan Atkins told an investigator that she left the Barker Ranch in October, 1969 to get baby Zezo. Two male bikers from Venice, CA accompanied her back to Barker. This story was corroborated by Linda Kasabian's lawyer because Linda picked up baby Tanya in LA at the same time. When Sadie and the bikers arrived at the Goler Wash, Manson and three male Family members asked her to continue up the wash on foot. Supposedly the bikers were "never heard from again."

Buster the wonder dog showed us where, specifically, the bus is supposed to be buried. Do you know the trash can south of Ballarat on Wingate Road that says "Barker Ranch, one mile?" Just beyond this, you come to the intersection of Wingate and Coyote Canyon Roads (the latter takes you all the way up the canyon to Barker Ranch). There's some dirt, rock and scrub brush moguls right there at a somewhat jumbled and undefined turnoff. The location of the well is described as "10 meters off the road."

In the past, there have been rumors that this well was a "mine shaft," but it is not. It goes straight down into the silt, not horizontal into solid rock. It would be a good source of water because the dry lakebed there which often fills in winter is most always wet just a few yards down. The thing is, if you don't maintain your well after a hard rain, the water, dirt and rocks from the wash will fill it in right quick. This is what happened with the well in question. Supposedly after the bikers were dumped there, nature did the rest. There's even greenery growing on top now, so you really cannot see a darned thing from the top.

 A friend of Sgt. Dostie's, "BG," told him that:

"around 1974, BG was visiting a friend ("TO"), who was the caretaker at the Barker Ranch. The caretaker decided to get rid of the Manson bus that was in the front yard because it was attracting too many tourists. The bus was cut up with a torch and they hauled the pieces down to the bottom of the Goler Wash in multiple trips on a flat bed truck.

At the bottom of the Goler Wash, there was an open pit well about 9 feet in diameter and 60 feet deep. There was a lot of junk and trash at the bottom of the well. They threw the pieces of the bus down the well and when they finished, it was 15 feet from the top. Subsequent flash flooding filled the well in and the location is indistinguishable from the surrounding desert...Investigative information indicates that there may be two or more victims at the bottom of the well."

Sgt. Dostie says that satellite tests could reveal a large amount of iron underground in the place that has been identified, but to date, nothing has happened because said tests are very expensive.

Now you know!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Did Tex Watson Sustain a Football Brain Injury?

Recently, there's been alot of buzz about football head injuries, especially with young boys, and the lasting effects.  Then I was reading about TEX Watson and he really did play football. What IF he suffered a significant head injury in school - that may explain his absolute craziness at Cielo Drive, Waverly, and elsewhere. Just a thought that may deserve discussion.

YES, football players with past head injuries are violent and "killing" people. PBS did a whole show on the subject. IF TEX was actually affected, that could be huge news!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Helter Skelter, Charles Manson sign upsets some residents

KITSAP COUNTY — A Poulsbo area bar that uses the image of Charles Manson as part of a business sign is drawing ire from area residents who say posting the face of the infamous cult leader known for his brutal slayings is offensive and equates to “hate speech.”

According to the North Kitsap Herald Reporter, the Helter Skelter Lounge in the 19000 block of Viking Avenue has come under fire recently for its sign that shows the words “Helter Skelter” next to a large drawing of Charles Manson’s face. As many has 40 people have complained about the sign online, with most saying it shined a negative light on Viking Avenue and the small Kitsap community.

“Helter Skelter alone is fine,” area resident Amber McIntosh told the Herald. “With Manson’s image on it, it’s his (version of) ‘Helter Skelter.’ I think it’s racist and in bad taste.”

The owner of the lounge, Joe Boyle, said he was expecting some complaints when he put the sign up. Boyle is a music lover, and typically associates Helter Skelter with the Beatles’ song, he said.

Still, he decided to pair the name with a picture of Manson’s face because of the bizarre connection Manson had to the song. Manson allegedly believed the Beatles’ lyrics were secretly coded to encourage a race battle. He said he decided to put the face together with the words to tell the whole story, knowing the face would garner his bar some attention.

“I knew I would hear something when I put the sign up,” Boyle told the Herald.

Boyle told the Herald he has received calls of support about the sign, and an online discussion between sign detractors and proponents continues.

Charles Manson, who is recently married, is currently in prison.

Thanks to Chatsworth Charlie

Friday, December 27, 2013

More on the "Missing Link:" Bikers and Meth

Parts 1 and 2 of this series can be found here and here.

We cannot go much further with Patty's current line of inquiry without addressing methamphetamine (aka meth) and biker culture. Admittedly, Patty doesn't know shit about any of it firsthand. However, she once had biker neighbors who were probably cooking meth. She knows this because of the weird foot traffic, the weird hours, the weird smell, and the rather large, glass shattering explosion at 2am several years back. Patty became peripherally friendly with them, and they protected Patty's property from harm on more than one occasion. She felt that they were good people with bad habits and worse friends.

Her attitude is likely influenced by the fact that Patty grew up in a Southern California town known for its abundance of meth: it was freaking EVERYWHERE, she remembers. In the early eighties, a lab down the street from her junior high blew up violently, and became the butt of many a schoolyard joke. A local bar called The Starlight purportedly distributed it via table service ("I'll have a beer and a bump!"), but Patty was too young back then to know if that is actually true. Patty cannot imagine anyone actually liking that messed up, tweeked out, way-too-much-coffee feeling. But, a lot of people apparently do. Or, they get started so they can work harder, thinking that they will kick after they make the big money. Um, BAD IDEA.

There was also a spaceship cult in Patty's town called Unarius (pictured at left) that had property out in Jamul (pronounced "huhMOOL"). Patty recently found out on facebook which of her high school friends' parents were involved: she never had a clue at the time, so it was a real shocker. Jamul is conveniently located on Highway 94, a desolate back road that leads to the US/Mexico border crossing at Tecate (see below). Yes, that is where they make the beer of the same name. Patty remembers going to the dulceria there as a child: it was her treat for waiting patiently while Mom and Dad Patty haggled over the price of terra cotta garden pottery with the locals.

As a teen, Patty was forbidden by Mom Patty from going to Jamul and beyond because of its bad reputation: it is not uncommon for hikers or sportsmen to find dead bodies in the surrounding areas. Sometimes, people die from exposure while trying to cross the border; other times, people have been shot for one reason or another. Supposedly, "Stephanie Schram's sister" (she has two: Susan Jane who was married three times between '69 and '76, and Sally Joanne who seems to have been a bit more stable) lived in Jamul, and this is where she and Charlie were going in early August, 1969. Oh. by the way, you know Charlie speaks pretty good Spanish, right? Si! Esta es la verdad! Whether or not there were also bikers in Jamul back then, Patty knows not. But she is beginning to think that Jamul may have been one of the 40 regional BEL distribution centers written about in Schou. At the very least, it would have been a convenient stop just north of a very sleepy, low-security border crossing well known to dealers on both sides.

Another place that a friend of the blog has suggested is involved in our story is Carbon Canyon, which is just east of Brea in Orange County. He says that "after getting LSD in Laguna, kids would go to Carbon Canyon and drop it." There was a bar there at the time called "La Vida" which was part of an old hot springs and soda pop factory. It became dilapidated by the 1960s: it was a hippie/biker hangout until the late 70's, at which point it became a notorious underground punk club. Patty is not sure if you can still get a beer there or not, but she thinks not. Patty's friend compares Carbon Canyon to Topanga and (like Patty, Mom Patty and Jamul) remembers that he was forbidden to go out there. He would anyway, but it was "wild," and you NEVER went alone. This may be because La Vida was purportedly a bar that served "many patches."

In Northern California, the Hell's Angels made a deal with Nick Sand to distribute his leftover cache of STP by selling it as "acid" on the street. In return, Sand would make methamphetamine for them. As you know, this is what the Angels were messed up on at Altamont. As we discussed last time, meth is very similar to MDA, as are the starting materials. Sand just put some of the batch aside to be processed in a slightly different way to give a slightly different product. In this way one could make a case for the California methamphetamine trade having risen from the earlier trade in psychedelics.

As a result of the deal made with Sand, the Angels got a bad reputation for their bad "biker acid" (Patty wonders aloud if the Woodstock catch phrase "don't eat the brown acid" was some of the same stuff?). As a result, by 1968 the BEL was shopping around for new distributorships or franchises to peddle their wares. This created a large part of the internal chaos within the BEL that culminated with the death of founder John Griggs who ingested a bad (or over-) dose of "synthetic psilocybin" that was making the rounds just days before Cielo.

Bob Ackerley states that an old friend from Anaheim, Elliot Miller (aka The Joker) was "another brother from Anaheim that nobody knows about, and he had a whole network." Whether or not Miller was a Gypsy Joker is unknown to Patty. She has learned however that The Gypsy Jokers were formed in San Francisco in the 1950's, and were forced out of the bay area by the Angels in 1967 (this is, coincidentally, around the same time that the Angels made their business arrangement with the BEL to sell STP). The Jokers later relocated to Oregon and Washington. They are still active up north selling meth, and they are still scary as hell. We will absolutely have to come back to speaking about Oregon at some point.

Anywhoo, in Southern California around the same time, there were Satan's Slaves and the Straight Satans. According to DebS' research here, the Slaves were legitimate 1%-ers. In the US, they eventually patched over to become Angels. They still exist abroad in the UK and elsewhere. While they are not much discussed in Helter Skelter, the Straight Satans are discussed therein quite a bit. Deb believes that they were not nearly as tight and as legitimate of an organization as the Slaves were.
At least one gentleman was murdered in 1971 for the offense of impersonating a Satan according to an article found by DebS. Another that was written by Sue Marshall infers that the impersonators were police informants who used confiscated Satans membership paraphernalia as credentials. It also infers that Satans were not big time dealers: rather they only traded in small quantities. Supposedly, Danny DeCarlo was a Satan. This idea fits with the material contained in the following interview blogger Cybot referenced with Bobby Beausoleil, that was conducted by Oui Magazine, circa 1981:

Q. Why did you go to Gary Hinman's home on July 25th, 1969?
A. I didn't go there with the intention of killing Gary. If I was going to kill him, I wouldn't have taken the girls. (Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins). I was going there for one purpose only, which was to collect $1,000 that I had already turned over to him, that didn't belong to me.
Q. When had you given him the $1,000?
A. The night before.
Q. You paid Hinman $1,000 for 1000 tabs of mescaline and then returned to the Spahn Ranch?
A. Right. The whole transaction with the Straight Satans motorcycle club took place at Spahn's Ranch. There were a few Satan Slavers hanging out there as well. The Straight Satans took the mescaline back to the motorcycle club at Venice where they were intending to party, they were really mad about it.
Q. How did you know that it was strychnine instead of mescaline in such a short time? If you didn't try the drug yourself, how could you be certain that it was bogus or poison?
A. I don't think that those guys would have lied to me. They wouldn't have been that mad.
Q. How long had you and Hinman been doing these transactions?
A. Very rarely. I just happened to know that he had something. I was trying to be a nice guy, trying to be in with the fellows, trying to impress somebody.

Bobby, who knew Gary as far back as at least October of 1967 according to evidence found at the murder scene, has perfected the art of looking the part of the pathetic victim of circumstance. Here, he is talking about a relatively small deal conducted for a small, loose-knit biker club with a tiny little manufacturer of "synthetic mescaline." This was an independent deal, not a "syndicate" deal, as Shreck would call it, which may also explain why Bobby handled the whole situation so ineptly. Why would the bikers think that it was strychnine? It is not a product of the chemical processes in question if the synthetic mescaline was STP or PMA. However, Robert Hendrickson suggests that Gary may have been experimenting with extracting scopolamine from Atropa belladonna.  Strychnine and belladonna have an established historical connection: they used to be packaged together in Victorian times to treat a host of internal ailments, and can still occasionally be found together in over the counter "homeopathic" preparations. Either way, the experience would still have been extremely unpleasant.

It is also interesting to Patty to hear that there were also Satan's Slaves at Spahn, who had known ties to the BEL during a very unstable time in California's drug trade for all of the reasons mentioned above, and more. Were Satan's Slaves the source of the chaos that ensued when someone realized that established territory was being impinged upon? Was Bobby auditioning for a larger role in an already established organization, or maybe just filling in for someone else like one of the two Charleses, since the stakes were pretty low?

As for Gary, what was his motivation? As Leary suggested, was he trying to raise a little money for his trip to Japan: a one-off kind of thing? Was his intention to become more involved at some point, or at least, did someone believe that was his intention? Did his being a buddhist with ties to Santa Barbara have anything to do with the BEL and/or his death?

That's enough to think about for now. Does Patty even need to say that THERE'S MORE?!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Santa Susana Pass is Burning

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
to all of our readers!

Monday, December 23, 2013

More on "the missing link"

If you have not read Part 1 of this series, it is located HERE.

Patty has a sneaking suspicion that PJ Tate actually DID know what happened at Cielo in August of 1969, but that he couldn't do or say anything about it, because there was a federal investigation going on into the workings of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love (aka "The Hippie Mafia" or BEL). Up until a few years ago, nobody talked much about this huge federal investigation because it was, and perhaps still is to some extent, being actively pursued.

Supposedly, the federal investigation into the BEL is "wrapping up" now: The last BEL-related arrest was Brenice Lee Smith (pictured at right) in 2009. Another member was recently located near Lake Tahoe, but since he is a "family man" and has stayed out of trouble for many decades, he was not prosecuted.

You probably know that Colonel Tate was retired, but that he had been fairly high up in army intelligence. There is a passage in Restless Souls where Alisa Statman writes that PJ staked out Cielo for weeks until some "bikers" showed up and taunted the dogs there from behind the fence. PJ then purportedly followed them back to Spahn Ranch. Why didn't PJ go any further with his investigation? He had suspects, he had experience, he had connections. Patty does not wish to trivialize his pain: she has only the greatest respect and admiration for this man whom she never met. Surely, he must have been PISSED: Sharon's acquaintances' involvement with drugs put her in the worst possible place at the exact wrong moment in time. Because he was a man of honor, he would not have been able to divulge details to which he may have become privy if indeed a federal investigation was ongoing. Viewed in this cold, hard fluorescent light, the look on Colonel Tate's face (above, left) screams "monkey trial" to Patty.

In 1972, there was a large law enforcement conference in a "hotel ballroom" somewhere in San Francisco, according to Tendler & May's BEL and Schou's Orange Sunshine. At this conference, a list of 750 known associates of the BEL is said to have been revealed. These associates were loosely organized into maybe 40 separate distributorships up and down the coast. Where is that list now? Perhaps lead investigator and professional creepy crawler Neil Purcell has a copy of the list, because he was supposedly there. Neil was not only instrumental in breaking up BEL operations in California, he is also the officer who arrested Tim Leary, his wife and his son Jack on 12/26/68 in Laguna Beach. The Learys were in possession of a rather small amount of weed for which Tim was sentenced to ten years in prison. You know the rest of that story, right? Anyhow, that list may end up being the holy grail if Patty can find a copy.

It was this document that Patty was searching for when she found copies of the 1972 and 1974 US Senate Hearings on the "Marijuana and Hashish Epidemic," instead. Patty was interested to learn that the BEL was heavily involved in a passport fraud operation in order to mask their comings and goings abroad. This, the hearings read, was confirmed by Interpol, who once investigated Bruce Davis' presence in London at the time of Joel Pugh's death (above). This statement in the Interpol letter caught Patty's eye: "The local police...understand that he has visited our country more recently than April, 1969. However, this is not borne out by our official records." Interesting, no? Patty was also interested to learn that Bruce (pictured below in 1961) was also an early adopter of LSD, as per his parole hearing from October 4, 2012:

"PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And you say other psychedelic drugs, did you use LSD? 
 INMATE DAVIS: I started in 1965. 
...PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: Other psychedelic drugs as well? 
INMATE DAVIS: Mescaline...Psilocybin.
...PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: Okay...You've mentioned hallucinogens, how about depressants or stimulants? 
 INMATE DAVIS: Very seldom. Sometimes some stimulants. 
INMATE DAVIS: No. Methamphetamine."

These are the drugs that Patty was talking about in her first post, which bring us back to Gary, and to Patty's stalker having another cow. Why have the 48 color photographs associated with the investigation into Gary's murder (here) been lost to us? CieloDrive has promised to keep his eyes peeled for the photos, but at last report, there has been nothing. WHY?

Patty believes that drugs figure very heavily into the overall motive, and apparently Sandy Good does too. Friend of the blog "Giselle" found Sandy's old ATWA site on the wayback machine (see here). Sandy, pictured above right with an (evil-)lizard, stated on her website as late as 2000 that although "seriously flawed," the Shreck book is the closest account to what really happened. The Shreck book is very pro drug motive, as you know.

Kimchi at lsb3.com shared that the LASD arrest report of 5/2/68 states that "Suspect Good was again shown evidence held item #1, #2, #3 and #4 and asked if it was hers, suspect stated, no, never saw it before. When asked if she smokes marijuana suspect stated, yes, but I don't like it. When asked where she got the capsules, suspect stated from Gary Hinman in Topanga.(see here)." Is it a coincidence that Tex and Sadie had a baby food jar full of white powdery speed at Spahn right after Gary's murder, which Tex wrote about in his book, "Will you die for me?" It wasn't in the form of pills (aka "reds"), it was POWDER. The stuff Sandy said came from Gary was also powder in a capsule, not pressed. Gary was an amateur and would not have had a pill press like the one at left, which was recovered from an actual MDMA lab. Was the "speed" in the baby food jar methamphetamine (trade name methedrine), an MDA precursor that Sadie got from Gary's basement?

It is very interesting to Patty that places that the Family have been known to frequent parallel places where the BEL had business at around the same times. Family members were driving up and down the coast all the time, Mexico to Canada. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Phil Kaufman who wrote Road Mangler Deluxe states that he met Manson at Terminal Island, where he was serving time for smuggling marijuana from Mexico. At one time Charlie gave Kaufman's "Joint Venture" address as his own, when he applied for a Union Oil Company credit card (see here).

It is also Phil who was with Graham Parsons when he died in Joshua Tree. Phil stole Graham's body to burn it near Joshua Tree rather than let him be buried at home in New Orleans (see here). Joshua Tree was also home to a large commune that Onjya Sipe stayed at (see here), as did a woman who told Nicholas Schou that she saw Charles Manson at a Haight-Ashbury free Diggers' kitchen called "The Living Room."

The guy who was the main BEL cook around the time of the murders was Nick Sand, a Brooklynite who jumped bail and ended up in Canada. Furthermore, Pic Dawson was a purported drug dealer from Canada. In the Robert Ackerley clip, he says that he never intended to end up in the Haight, because he and a friend were originally driving to Canada. (as an aside: He also mentions hanging out with Eric Clapton in the Haight. This blog has a photo of Clapton at Cass' house, eating BBQ next to Pic Dawson: see here).

Ruth Ann was either travelling with or picking up on Hawaii a large amount of LSD at the time she dosed Barbara's hamburger. We know she disappeared and left Barbara in her hotel for several hours before she returned, then high tailed it back to the airport. The BEL was there at the same time, dealing acid and creating what later became known as "Maui Wowie." Did Ruth Ann bring the acid with her in a premotivated plan to murder Barbara, or was it an offhanded stunt she pulled in the process of picking up or dropping off some sort of shipment? (Hey Stoner, the bong babe is for you). If this was the case, it is entirely possible that Barbara was brought along as an unwitting, disposable "mule."

Clyda Dulaney was murdered in Ukiah, halfway between where the Witches of Mendocino were living in Navarro and where the BEL relocated to from the Haight (namely, Potter's Valley). Who is/was Johnny's "weird aunt," who may know what actually happened according to Johnny himself (see here)? And what about Santa Barbara? and Malibu? and Oregon? and Mexico? and San Diego? and Esalen? And....a bunch of other places that come up again and again? Stay tuned, because of course, THERE'S MORE.

Friday, December 20, 2013


December 20, 2013 | 12:53am EST

"We will NOT let CHARLES MANSON into our home," distraught mother of his fiancee tells The ENQUIRER in a blistering interview.

THE woman who shocked the world by announcing her plans to wed "Helter Skelter" monster Charles Manson flat-out lied about her parents welcoming the murderous fiend into their family!

"My parents like Charlie," Manson's bride-to-be - a 25-year-old groupie nicknamed Star by the evil killer - said recently. "They said, 'If Charlie gets out (of prison), you guys can stay here.' "

But in a bombshell ENQUIRER interview, Star's mother claims she definitely doesn't want Manson as a son-in-law.

And she's horrified that her daughter - whose real name is Afton Burton - has hooked up with the infamous 79-year-old psycho.

"We would not let Charles Manson into our home!" a distraught Melissa Burton - also speaking for her husband Nolan - told The ENQUIRER.

"We do not approve. We would rather she not be involved with him."

Manson is serving a life sentence at California's Corcoran State Prison for his role in the brutal 1969 murders of movie director Roman Polanski's actress-wife Sharon Tate and Los Angeles residents Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.

In a blockbuster interview with " Rolling Stone", Star claimed she began writing to Manson while she was in high school, and at 19, she used $2,000 in savings to move near the maximum-security prison so she could be close to him.

She also said that she fled to California after her parents locked her in her bedroom when she refused to attend church and began taking drugs. After the interview made worldwide headlines, The ENQUIRER discovered Star's true identity, and tracked down her family in Bunker Hill, Ill., a suburb of St. Louis, Mo.

Her mother angrily disputed Star's claims.

"We did not lock my daughter in a room!" Melissa told The ENQUIRER.

"We are very upset by these statements. She has a loving family. We have a good relationship and she had a caring upbringing."

While prison regulations allow Manson to marry, conjugal visits for inmates serving a life sentence are forbidden. But as The ENQUIRER has reported, a source claims Star - who marked her forehead with an "X" as Charlie's followers did - would like to bear his child. And it's possible fiendish Manson could find a way to impregnate her.

Star also said: "People can think I'm crazy, but they don't know me. This is what's right for me. This is what I was born for...I'll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married. When that will be, we don't know. But I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband."

Yet the prospect of Manson as her son-in- law horrifies Star's mom.

"I ask my daughter to come home every day," Melissa said. "It's my belief that she is being misled. But she's a grown woman, and I can't stop her."

Murder, Love & Redemption

This story was a finalist for a Western Publishing Association 2011 Maggie Award for best interview or profile.

Murder, Love & Redemption

Everyone knows how Manson girl Susan Atkins helped take lives. But few know the story of the life she helped save.

by Shawn Hubler / photograph by Jason Wallis

 In 1985, long after the crimes that would bind her forever to Charles Manson, Susan Atkins received a letter in the prison mail. A young man named James Whitehouse had read her autobiography and wanted guidance. He was lost. He was frightened. He was partying too hard, hanging out with bad people. In her book, she wrote that she had found God and conquered her demons. How did she do it? How could he?

“He wrote to me and offered friendship,” the convicted murderer told parole officials years later, “and I was at a place emotionally where I thought maybe I could offer friendship back.”

The decision to correspond hadn’t been easy, she said. In the 14 years since her conviction, both as one of the despised Manson girls and a legend among born-again inmates, Atkins received more than her share of mail from crackpots. Occasionally, the exchanges turned disastrously romantic. One writer had to be barred from the prison; another, to whom she was briefly married, turned out to be a con man.

Now here was this confused 22-year-old wanting advice from her, a 37-year-old convict.

“I don’t remember what I told her,” Whitehouse recalls one recent afternoon, sitting on the porch of a San Juan Capistrano mobile home that doubles as his law office. “But I do remember what I prayed before I sent the letter. I said, ‘God, if this isn’t a good idea, then don’t let her get it.’ Later, she told me she hadn’t written back to anyone in about five years.”

What happened after he mailed that letter is a complicated tale. It’s a crime story, of course, framed by one of the most notorious murder sprees in California history. But it’s also an account of an uphill struggle against an increasingly stern and powerful justice system. And a love story. And a tragedy.

When Whitehouse tells it, though, it sounds improbably like a story of redemption, and not necessarily of the infamous prisoner who became his wife. For in the epilogue to one of the darkest tales ever to haunt the nation, Whitehouse—now a Harvard-educated attorney—found the courage to rewrite the story of his own life.

“When I was in junior high, I played the trumpet,” Whitehouse says. “I was going to go to West Point. Or to Stanford, and play in the Stanford band.”

He laughs. A tall, graying, thin-faced man who has worn his hair long since his late teens, the 46-year-old Whitehouse seems more Ted Nugent than John Philip Sousa. Yet there he is, in his 1979 yearbook, in the Hillsdale High School band in San Mateo, where former classmates recall him as brainy and shy.

The change came at 16: His father, an engineer, moved the family to Ohio, and the teenaged Whitehouse defiantly shut down. “He was already getting to that angry-young-man phase, but Cleveland was the last straw,” recalls his sister, Virginia Seals, a 44-year-old Santa Cruz landscaper and accounting student.

The day after graduation, Whitehouse says, he rushed from Ohio back to the Bay Area and moved in with old buddies, playing bass in a rock band and ditching classes at community college: “We were headlining shows on Friday and Saturday nights. In some of the worst clubs, but still, headlining.”

And doing a lot of drugs.

“See,” he says, “what happens is: You start partying. It costs money. And then you can’t get it and eventually you say, ‘The heck with this, I’m going to buy a lot so I don’t have to keep going back to some guy.’ And then you end up with a lot in your house, and you realize that other people can kick in your door and take it. Because it’s illegal, you can’t go to the police and complain about it. So eventually you buy guns. And all my guns were legal, and they were all registered and I never took them out of the house, but …”

He was 6 feet tall and so strung out that his weight had dropped to 113 pounds by the time he was 20. “For my 21st birthday,” he says, “my dad gave me money to get a will done.”

About that time, Whitehouse says, he picked up Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelter,” the Manson case history beloved by defiant adolescents everywhere. “Someone said, ‘Oh, read this. This is scary,’ ” he remembers. And it did disturb him. He was a 6-year-old living 400 miles from Los Angeles when Manson, a deranged ex-con humiliated by his failure as a musician, dispatched his “family” of runaways and lost souls to commit the bloodbaths in 1969 that made him famous.

In Southern California, of course, the case became legend: Brainwashed and acting on Manson’s instructions, his followers slaughtered nine people, including actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, and wrote epithets at the crime scenes in the victims’ blood.

But by the mid-’80s, it was just a bad memory. The 15th anniversary of the crimes came and went and the TV movie of “Helter Skelter” was in reruns. One day while reading a magazine, Whitehouse says, he noticed a Q&A in which Manson was ranting that “Sadie lied” about something. Intrigued, he went looking for the autobiography of the Manson girl who had been given that alias.

The book was not what he expected. At the trials, Atkins had been “the scariest Manson girl,” as one prosecutor put it, bragging to her cellmates that she had not only stabbed Tate but, they claimed, tasted the actress’s blood. Then she switched sides to become the first family member to testify against Manson. Under oath, she claimed she never stabbed anyone—she had only written the word “pig” in blood with a towel at one of the crime scenes and held Tate while another family member, Charles “Tex” Watson, murdered her. 

Then Atkins reversed herself again, the result of threats by Manson against her and her then-year-old baby, she explained later. (The child, fathered by a drifter during a trip to Phoenix with another family member, was taken by the state and given up for adoption after her conviction.)

At her 1971 sentencing, Atkins claimed she did stab Tate, sneering at her pleas for mercy. By that time, however, her story was contradicted by so much other testimony that it wasn’t clear whether Atkins really knew what part she played in the murders. In any case, the disgusted public no longer much cared whether she was a cold-blooded killer or a hapless accessory. Atkins was sentenced to death.

A year after she was sent to death row, the California Supreme Court briefly rendered the death penalty invalid. All death sentences automatically were commuted to life imprisonment. Under the law at the time of the murders, that technically meant seven years to life because sentences of life without parole didn’t exist in California. So Atkins not only escaped death; she won a shot at release.

According to her memoir, “Child of Satan, Child of God,” this set the stage in 1974 for a life-altering spiritual rebirth. The claim raised the usual jailhouse-memoir doubts. Inmates who want parole stand to gain from sympathetic portrayals. And Atkins’ co-author, Bob Slosser, was an evangelist who went on, after the book’s release, to launch the news department of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network.

Whitehouse had his own epiphanies. 

“I was eating dinner one day in the living room with a gun on my lap,” he recalls. “And I realized that people don’t just wake up one morning and decide to run amok. People … make a bad choice, and something goes wrong, and then they make another bad choice, and eventually they end up in a situation where there are no longer any right answers.”

Contacting a Manson girl was extreme, he concedes, but “at that age, everything seems dramatic.” And Atkins had written that she wanted to minister to young people who felt lost. Whitehouse was scarcely speaking to his family and had no friends outside his lifestyle. “I told her that I was living with a bunch of people and … I wanted to get my life cleaned up, that I was 22 years old and the oldest person in the entire place, and that it was hard holding it all together. And she encouraged me to get out of there.”

For the next year, he says, they wrote monthly. “When you’re drowning, you don’t pay attention to who’s throwing you a life preserver.”

He moved to North Hollywood to start a new band, playing speed-metal clubs in the San Fernando Valley. (“We actually opened once for Megadeth,” he says.) Now a little more than an hour from the women’s prison in Frontera, he visited Atkins. The more he saw, he says, the more he liked. Even surrounded by guards, she had a reassuring serenity that was—dare he think it?—attractive. (“Susan had a way of letting you know God made you absolutely perfect, just the way you are,” says his sister.)

And unlike others in his life, Atkins didn’t judge or lecture. “Instead of saying, ‘You ought to … ,’ she’d just let me talk and wait for me to say something that made sense,” Whitehouse says. “And then she’d say, ‘I think you’re right.’ Or, ‘I think what you said before; I think that was right.’ Which made me feel like she wasn’t telling me stuff, but that I was coming up with it myself.” 

In early 1987, his band was caught up in a drug sweep. Though he wasn’t charged, he says, he spent two days in jail. Sobered, he accepted an invitation from his grandmother in San Juan Capistrano: If he returned to school, he could live in the guest room of her trailer.

“I enrolled at Golden West [College], and, after a semester there, I surprised myself and got a 3.75 average,” he says. He decided three things:

He was smart.

He wanted to go to college.

And he was in love with Susan Atkins.

“I had to ask her four times to marry me,” he says. “The first time I asked she said, ‘What?’ And the second time, she said, ‘Have you lost your mind?’ The third time she said, ‘What will your parents think?’ And the fourth time she said, ‘Yes.’ ”

They were married Dec. 7, 1987, in the prison administration building. The groom wore a dark-blue suit; the bride wore white. “Susan waited until a certain pastor she liked came in,” recalled Whitehouse. “He kept calling me John.”

Besides the obvious obstacles, she now was pushing 40 and he was just 24. Whitehouse says he didn’t tell his parents until three months before the wedding.

“They were hugely concerned,” says his sister. “Dad’s first reaction was: Nobody can change that much—you can’t do something that horrible and then change into a wonderful person.” Her own feelings were mixed: Her father had a point, but her brother was like a new man.

“I think my dad said something like, ‘I don’t want to hear about it,’ ” Whitehouse says. But his mother’s sister met Atkins and interceded. Whitehouse’s father died in 2000; his mother, now in her 70s, declined to comment for this story. Though it didn’t happen in time for the prison to clear them to attend the wedding, Whitehouse and his sister say both parents grew to love their daughter-in-law.

Whitehouse said his feelings for Atkins had crept up on him gradually as he realized how sorry she was about the murders, and how little the world knew about the penance she did. Transcripts from parole hearings show long lists of commendations for Atkins’ work in volunteer and rehabilitative programs—charities, 12-step programs, fitness programs, advisory councils. In at least one case, she had helped save a life as a volunteer in a psychiatric treatment unit. 

“She had become a model inmate,” says Florence Richer, a longtime inmate advocate at the California Institution for Women who was Atkins’ counselor and friend for 31 years.

By law, after Atkins had served the minimum seven years of her sentence, the state had to parole her unless there was evidence she was still a danger to society. When her death sentence was commuted, Whitehouse says, even first-degree murderers were getting out in less than a decade. Bugliosi, the lead prosecutor in the Manson case, predicted in “Helter Skelter” that she would serve only 15 or 20 years of her sentence. But in the court of public opinion, the Manson inmates were in a class by themselves.

Richer believes Atkins understood this, and had come to terms with it. But Whitehouse was outraged: Parole hearings were supposed to be neutral, and it seemed no matter how much remorse Atkins expressed or how many commendations and positive psychiatric evaluations she garnered, parole officials routinely concluded she was too dangerous to release.

They suspected her turnaround was an act, or that the eager-to-please Manson follower had simply become an eager-to-please student of correctional culture. “I’ve seen offenders who look like they’re doing great but they really haven’t changed much,” says John Dovey, a  former warden at the Frontera prison. 

“This was not a garden-variety murder,” says Stephen Kay, the veteran Los Angeles prosecutor who handled most of Atkins’ parole hearings. “I never got the sense that she was rehabilitated to the point that she would not be a danger.”

The victims’ distraught families, meanwhile, reminded the parole board that even in her most self-serving accounts, Atkins had admitted to restraining a pleading, pregnant woman who was being eviscerated. “Why should she get mercy?” they asked.

As attitudes on criminal justice hardened in the ensuing decades, it seemed clear that Atkins would spend the rest of her life in prison. “And he’s willing to wait for you forever?” a commissioner on the Board of Prison Terms scoffed at a 1989 hearing after learning she had wed.

And yet, Whitehouse says, after every rejection, Atkins threw herself back into education, community work, therapy, religion—every possible avenue of rehabilitation. It moved him. Whoever she had been, the woman he knew now seemed extraordinary. “Marriage is a public sign of commitment that you really do believe in someone. I believed in her and I wanted her to be a part of my life, whatever that meant.”

They spent every possible moment together, as newlyweds will, even in prison. There were conjugal visits every couple of months. There was canoodling in the visiting room. Parole hearing transcripts show that five months after their wedding, she was cited for violating no-contact regulations. She had rested her head on his shoulder, kissed him, and brushed the hair from his forehead. They’d take walks around the prison yard and study the Bible.

He enrolled at Saddleback College, taking science courses. Whitehouse’s sister recalls: “Susan was pretty much: ‘If you’re going to be married to me, you’re going to get back on track—I’m not going to be blamed for wasting your life.’ ”

In his off hours, Whitehouse studied. And studied. By 1991, he had won a scholarship and transferred to UC Irvine; by 1993, he had two bachelor’s degrees, graduating magna cum laude in chemistry and summa cum laude in biological sciences.

He had planned to go into molecular engineering. But the next year, after yet another fruitless parole hearing, he applied on impulse to law school. When acceptance letters arrived from universities such as Harvard and UC Berkeley, he says, “everyone from Susan’s brother to my dad pitched in” to pay the tuition. He enrolled at Harvard in September 1994, according to the university registrar’s office, and graduated cum laude with his law degree in May 1997.

While he was gone, the tough-on-crime drumbeat got louder. California passed its three-strikes law. Prison visiting hours were shortened. A 1995 law had eliminated conjugal visits entirely for lifers such as Atkins. At Harvard, Whitehouse focused on the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution, which, among other things, prohibits laws that retro-actively increase punishments for offenses. As he saw it, he was there for one purpose—to end his wife’s imprisonment.

At school, he says, he told people he was married and didn’t elaborate. When classmates saw pictures of Atkins in his room, Whitehouse says, they never recognized her—they only remarked on her good looks.

“Once the guy next door said, ‘That’s your wife?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ ‘You left her in California?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You’re an idiot.’ ”

Law professor Martha Field, who advised Whitehouse on his third-year paper, says he never talked to her about his personal life, only about his work. (“The paper was a good one,” she recalls.) Former classmates noticed his long hair and that he was older, but otherwise simply found him to be smart, polite—and happily married.

“Even my [young] girlfriend at the time thought it was endearing, how he would talk about spending every break in California, ‘chasing my wife’s a** around,’ ” recalled David R. Lawson, Whitehouse’s moot court partner in those days, in an e-mail. However, he says, Whitehouse said little about his home life: “We wondered a bit, but had no idea whatsoever about the details.”

Now a commercial litigator in Northern California, Lawson remembers his classmate as fiercely intelligent and “fearless” in the courtroom, and wrote that he was astonished when, shortly after graduation, Whitehouse shared his secret: “I was not at all shocked to find out his wife was in jail, (I almost saw that coming somehow),” Lawson wrote, “but would not have guessed the details no matter how much time you gave me. … It was odd because Jim is such a great guy and it is entirely incongruous.” 

Whitehouse was admitted to the bar six months after his graduation. The opportunities were obvious—tech companies, public service, corporate law. “A Harvard Law School diploma is very ritzy,” he concedes. But he had a mission. Besides, he jokes, a ritzy firm probably wouldn’t have let him keep his long hair.

Instead, he says, he prepared for his wife’s next parole hearing. By then, Atkins was a 49-year-old matron with paralegal training and an associate’s degree. Prison psychiatrists found she had matured into “a far different person,” albeit with a troubling tendency to “minimize” her role in the slayings. She was involved in everything from sheriff’s department fundraisers to the prison’s Black History Month celebration. She made numerous public and private apologies.  

Whitehouse’s plan was to remind the board—which is made up of political appointees—that its sole job under the law was to develop an impartial risk assessment with no predetermined conclusion. If Atkins still didn’t get a fair hearing, Whitehouse would sue. But it was an election year. Then-Gov. Gray Davis already vowed no murderer would be freed during his administration. In December 2000, after a three-hour hearing, the board again found Atkins unsuitable for release.

Whitehouse enlisted Eric Lampel, an experienced Orange County trial attorney. They filed a writ of habeas corpus in Superior Court alleging 42 instances in which the parole board had deliberately ignored the law and parole rules to keep Atkins behind bars. In 2003, they filed a second, parallel suit in federal court, alleging that the board members were part of a concerted effort to keep Atkins in prison regardless of the evidence, and that they should be held personally liable for inflicting what amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

They went to the media. They mustered supporters. But the lower courts held that the crimes alone were sufficient grounds for denial. Their appeals were rejected, and in 2005—saying her crimes had been too heinous and calling a prison psychologist’s recommendation that she be released “inconclusive”—the board again denied her parole.

Each parole hearing sparked vigorous public debate about Atkins’ evolution. Behind the scenes, however, the real story to those who knew Whitehouse was the metamorphosis of her most devoted advocate. He was now helping several inmates besides Atkins. He was lobbying reporters. He was arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

On the personal front, he had renovated his grandmother’s trailer, putting in hardwood floors and decorating it with Atkins’ art and his Ivy League diploma. He was healthy. He was close to his family. His marriage may have been hard to fathom—“Harvard law grad and brutal murderess? It just didn’t mesh,” puzzles Kay, the prosecutor—but it was, by all accounts, successful and deeply loving.

“Usually the person in prison is the one who is rehabilitated. But James was the one who became a new person,” says Richer, the inmate advocate and Atkins’ friend.

Atkins developed brain cancer in 2008 and had to be moved to the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla to be treated. Whitehouse made the seven-hour drive to see her as often as he was permitted, though by then, visiting hours had been cut to just twice a week. Doctors initially gave her only a few months to live, but she survived long enough to celebrate her 21st wedding anniversary with Whitehouse. On Sept. 24, 2009, at 11:46 p.m., Atkins died after 18 months in a skilled nursing facility. She was 61, partially paralyzed, and had had difficulty speaking since March 2008. One leg had been amputated. Nonetheless, she was still deemed a danger: In her final months, officials denied her last bid for parole and a request for compassionate release.

Whitehouse was in his hotel room across the street when nurses called with the news of her death; he rushed back to her bedside just to be near her body. “I straightened her bedding. Straightened the sheets.” His voice cracked. “Crossed her hands.”

He waited with her until morning, then got into his 8-year-old BMW and started driving. He said he’d gone 100 miles before he realized he didn’t have a destination. He stayed with his brother-in-law’s family for a few days, then returned to San Juan Capistrano. 

“I didn’t have any plans for the future that didn’t include Susan,” he says, stepping into a living room filled with memories of his wife—a room she had never seen. One wall is lined with her paintings, another with framed photographs of her. Legal files from her final parole hearing are piled in his kitchen; a half-dozen of her Bibles are stacked on his bookcase. On his desk, two roses top a brown plastic box holding her ashes. The space is pleasant but cell-like—his sofa is a narrow cot, his possessions are neatly arrayed.

Whitehouse is alternately tearful and forward-looking: “This is the first time in 24 years that I haven’t had to have anything to do with the California Department of Corrections,” he jokes. “And it’s a relief.”

He isn’t sure what he’ll do next—maybe practice, maybe do legal research for other attorneys. “Maybe I need another big nasty thing to fight for,” he says.

But he’s grateful: “Knowing Susan got me away from where I was before. It gave me goals. Something to believe in.”

He opens the door and walks out into the sunlight.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ginny Good: The Missing Link?

Patty recently got a copy of Gerard Jones' loving tribute to his ex girlfriend, Ginny Good (older by three years sister of Sandra). The book was enlightening for Patty because of the many details that it contains. You can read or listen to the book yourself, here.

Ginny had an aunt in Laguna Beach that she would visit with some frequency. Laguna Beach is the home of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and former location of their Mystic Arts World headshop (pictured at right). Ginny and Sandy's dad George lived at 265 Hilton Drive in Boulder Creek (below: thank you DebS) which backs up onto the Boulder Creek Golf and Country Club.

George lived at this address until he died in 1973. Gerard writes that he, Ginny, Sandra and Joel Pugh went there for Christmas, 1964. Sandra and Joel are also in a photograph together at Christmas 1967, so it is interesting to Patty to learn that Joel courted Sandy for at least three years.

Boulder Creek is fairly close to where the Chateau Liberte once stood at 22700 Old Santa Cruz Highway (pool pictured below is still visible on Google Earth) until 1975. "The Chateau" was known in the very early days as Chateau Boutisse, from 1965-1967 it was called the Redwood Chateau, and from 1967-1971 it was the Chateau Regis. It was a known BEL, Gypsy Joker and Hell's Angels hangout where the Grateful Dead, The Doobies, Hot Tuna, Quicksilver, et al would perform.

Ginny was on a first name basis with the Grateful Dead, and she got her acid from a guy who got it directly from Owsley, the Grateful Dead chemist known to history as "Bear." In fact, Ginny's acid connection goes back to at least 1964, because Gerard remembers her introducing it to him in early 1965 at La Honda (she had already tried it at this point). La Honda, which is near Stanford University, was the home of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksers: Gerard claims that Ginny hung with them, too.

The timeline in which Ginny lived in San Francisco spanned from at least 1963 through her college graduation in 1968. She had roommates on Clayton Street during this time who were studying chemistry at SFSU and/or UCSF, which is walking distance from the Haight. Ginny had emotional problems every Christmas that either landed her in jail or in a mental hospital like the lockup at UCSF, or Scripps down south in La Jolla. As such, it took her at least six years to finish her bachelor's degree at San Francisco State University. Her troubles were so extreme that she may not have made it through college at all, had it not been for a substantial amount of help from George's (unnamed) lawyer.

She had at one point a boyfriend named Hank Harrison, who was the original manager of The Dead when they were still called The Warlocks (he is also Courtney Love's father). He formed a group called "LSD rescue" that he claims later became the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. Bob Ackerley of the BEL claims that they helped found the Free Clinic, as do the Folgers. As you know, the Mansons were regular fixtures at the clinic. Not only were they frequently treated there for the various STDs they picked up along the way, they were also written about by Dr. David E. Smith in the scientific literature regarding their "common marriage."

The free clinic, unlike most other reputable caregivers of the day, had no issues with their clientele being on crazy amounts of drugs. It was accepted and even expected. Today's Rock Med, which is solely dedicated to caring for people who freak out at bay area rock shows, is today's outgrowth of the free clinic. Patty distinctly remembers seeing these people help a soaking wet deadhead with an infant who'd been dyed bright blue in one of the ladies' rooms at Autzen Stadium (June, 1994). It's a long story.

By now, you are probably saying, "so what?" Let Patty backtrack a bit.

Abigail and Voytek had MDA in their systems when they died, which was not a common drug back then. Patty has been working backwards to try and figure out where the MDA came from.

About MDA: it is the precursor for MDMA, aka ecstasy, aka "N-methylated MDA." It is closely related to STP (aka DOM), which freaked out the entire Haight Ashbury during the summer of love. Another variation is called PMA, which is just one molecule different from MDA, but can be fatal because it causes severe hypertension. All of these were referred to as "synthetic mescaline" back then, and they all contain an amphetamine component which alone is known as methamphetamine (trade name methedrine). Patty is a bit stymied here because MDA is a common biological metabolite for the entire cluster, and therefore, it's not very clear what the drug was when Gibby and Voytek ate it. What the coroner found was likely already metabolized.

Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin (pictured at left), the famous drug researcher and author of PIKHAL, claims that MDA was first introduced to him by a grad student in SF, circa 1964. Shulgin also taught at UCLA where Gary was studying chemistry. (By the way: remember that van that's supposed to be Gary's in a remote area of LA? It DOES NOT have a UCLA parking sticker on it: it's a gate pass for gate 9, or maybe 8, pictured below. What was at gates 8 and 9? Patty is still looking into it.) The feds not only knew about Shulgin, they tolerated him and his research until his PIKHAL (and, later, TIKHAL) started showing up in clandestine labs all over the world. The feds shut Shulgin down in the '90s. He is doing fairly well for a man of his advanced age (87), but his memory is probably not what it used to be. You can see his original laboratory notes, here.
All these years, people have assumed that local law enforcement was totally inept when they conducted their murder investigations. But, what if it's not that, it's that these investigations were consumed into a larger investigation of global drug smuggling and manufacture? MKULTRA, as overused as it is in conspiracy theories, was an actual thing, and many of the drugs in question are confirmed MKULTRA test drugs. Patty was also interested to hear that when Brian Davis called the LAPD recently to inquire about the "Tex Tapes", he was told that they are part of an ongoing investigation. They did not specifically say MURDER investigation, which sent a chill down Patty's spine.

Can you see where Patty is going with this? Of course you can. But, what evidence does she have?

Howz about we let the above sink in for a little? Patty will be back because, of course, THERE'S MORE.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Donald (Shorty) Shea's burial spot next to Spahn Ranch

The below photos and video were taken by our good friend Stoner
(the name was earned with distinction, trust me) on Thursday, 12/12/13.

They path Shorty's body was dragged. If you look carefully you can see the RR tracks below.

Same path but a bit closer to the tracks below, facing NE.

Off that path is this small trail leading to the spot where he was buried.

The side of the of the hill were his remains were found by authorities in December of 1977,
as per Grogan's map.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

God "created" all men equal, but Samuel Colt MADE them equal

With all the school shootings we are going to hear more in the media (books, etc.) about the origins of "Gunfighters."

But this angle to the Tate massacre has been completely overlooked, maybe because "knives" were also used. But then "knives" were used by the Indians. Anyone SEE where this is going?

Robert Hendrickson

P.S. "Death to Pigs and the MANSON DVDs are available at ExclusiveFilms.com - with a 10% discount IF this Blog is mentioned.