Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tex's Power Wagon

We received this email from a friend of the blog.  I really hope I matched up the pictures correctly with the text.

"The Power wagon behind Barkers can be seen in Inside the Manson Gang (when clem is walking around) in the state it is in now; taken apart and buried. I don't think it was in working order when the Family was there- I don't think.

Here is the pic of the Tex power wagon, in 1970-71.

So, I found out that the Power wagon in Ballarat is NOT the one Tex fled in, it was the OTHER Power wagon. The one Tex fled in was in Ballarat with the other, but then traded to Leon Griffin who was the caretaker of the Briggs Mining camp.

He later disassembled the Power wagon and died.

Griggs, you will see a power wagon behind him... rusty.

The Briggs camp is still here. I am visiting soon to see if there is a trash heap of cars ala
Barker Ranch.

 Some photos of the Briggs camp with some power wagons and Leon's home.

From Wild Bill Gossett: My original source of information was not the ex-mayor of Ballarat for those of you who may have thought so. It was somebody whom I truly thought had the facts. Tonight I sat with the person that I should have interviewed in the first place. For over an hour he talked while the tape recorder rolled. There definitely was a Tex Watson power wagon. The person I talked to tonight helped remove it from the very spot where Tex left it after he ran out of gas. Tex Watson then walked to the Ballarat Road on the lake bed and was picked up by an old miner named John Paulson who gave him a ride to down by the turn-off to Hinkley, CA. From there Watson made his way back to Texas.

Anyway, his power wagon is not the one that is in Ballarat now. The Watson power wagon was used at Ballarat for several years and then traded off to Leon Griffin, caretaker at Briggs' Redlands Camp. Unfortunately, Leon had big dreams of converting this truck to a different cab, etc. and he took it all apart. Not long after he took it apart he got sick and died. We still have the mystery of where the truck at Ballarat came from but we know where it DIDN'T come from and I'm going to try and find out. I have a picture of Tex Watson's power wagon taken about 2 years after he abandoned it. You will clearly see that it is not the same truck.

The rusty one with the man at the door looks like it used to be tan-yellow, like the Tex one. Must be before it was disassembled.

The ones in the Briggs photo may not be the same one, but I think the one where the guy is standing in the door is. You can see it used to be tan.

This may not answer a lot, but I think this may be the elusive second power wagon. "


Saturday, June 29, 2013

What Happened to Gypsy's Book?

If you've ever wondered whatever happened to Catherine Share's book, we may have an answer. According to the US Copyright office (see record below) it was "optioned" to Paramount on April 9, 2008. Nothing seems to have happened since.

Why would Paramount purchase the rights, then squash it?


Type of Work:      Recorded Document

Document Number:   V3565D856

Date of Recordation:

Entire Copyright Document:
                  V3565 D856 P1-2

Date of Execution: 9Apr08

Title:             Manson family / by Catherine Share.

Notes:             Short form assignment.

Party 1:           Catherine Share.

Party 2:           Paramount Vantage, a division of Paramount Pictures

Names:             Share, Catherine
                  Paramount Vantage
                  Paramount Pictures Corporation.  Paramount Vantage


The Library of Congress
United States Copyright Office
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

Friday, June 28, 2013

Who's damn car was it?

I have never really studied the Tate murder case in great detail, especially like some of our readers, but I will read documents I come across from start to finish. The majority of us can at least agree on one thing: this case is not 100% solved. There have been many things that I have come across that just don't add up to witness statements, police reports, photographs, etc. Well, take for instance, the first progress report the police did on Tate. In this report, the newspaper delivery guy SAW a white Dodge Dart or Rambler that had been parked outside the gate a few days before the Tate murder. That, in my opinion is more significant than other aspects. Was it Steve Parent? Why would Steve Parent's car have been parked outside the gate at 4:30 AM on Wednesday, August 6th? Or.....maybe it wasn't Steve Parent. Could it be that Bill Garretson had another late night/early morning visitor? I know one of the gardeners went up there, and brought a lady friend to make out with in the guest house, but it wasn't on Wednesday morning. Frankly, Garretson's story has never added up. He was asked some pretty blunt questions at his polygraph exam, which were, uh....mighty embarrassing to admit to a cop. I won't repeat the questions & answers, but it had something to do with having "relations" with the same sex. (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) This is from the First Tate Homicide Report:

Between 0430 and 0500 hours, Steven B. Shannen, deliveryman for the Times newspaper, delivered the paper to the gate of the Cielo property. As he approached the gate he noticed that there was a wire down and draped across the gate. He observed the yellow bug light on the north side of the garage to be on. He also stated that on Wednesday, August 6, at about the same time of day, he had noted a white Dodge Dart or Rambler sedan parked on the west side of Cielo just outside the gate. He was not sure of the make of the vehicle, but stated that it did have black-wall tires.

Shall we put our collective noggins together and discuss?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cease to Exist (Charles Manson/The Beach Boys Documentary)

"Cease To Exist" (2008. Documentary) explores the music motive to the Manson murders and uncovers Charles Manson's relationship with Beach Boys' drummer Dennis Wilson and record producer Terry Melcher.
Written and Directed by Ryan Oksenberg
Running time: 85mins

Click here to watch on Vimeo

(Thanks William Marshall for the tip)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sharon's March, 1967 Playboy Pictoral

Another cool thrift store find! This time it was Patty and not Mom-Patty who found it. This is the issue of Playboy where Sharon appears "semi nude" (i.e., look close and you can see nipple). The photos were taken by "Polanski" which I found odd, why didn't they use his full name? Is he one of those people who only need one name, like Beyonce, Prince and Cher? Whatevs.

The pictorial is obviously promoting "The Fearless Vampire Killers." You have probably seen these before, and wondered where they came from. Also there was a huff a while back when someone said Deb Tate said her sister was in Playboy when in actuality, she never was. Well, here she is. She is not the centerfold, maybe that's what the stink was about. Sharon's photos are fairly tasteful while Deb's Oui spread was not as, shall we say, demure. Can't post that here without a big yellow happy face over her business end.

Sigh. Patty digresses yet again. For your enjoyment, "The Tate Gallery" from the infamous March, 1967 Playboy Magazine!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Paul Watkins Adam magazine interview

This interview doesn't contain any startling revelations except, perhaps, the original title of Paul Watkins book but it does have some great unseen pictures of Paul.  Written by Guillermo Soledad, Watkins soon to be co-author, for Adam Magazine November 1978.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Coincidences, Coincidences, Coincidences...

  Coincidences, Coincidences, Coincidences...

Western Surplus, Royal Cyclery, and

Rosemary’s Pizza Show!

(A different perspective)

co·in·ci·dence  (kōˈinsədəns)  
1. A chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for apparently being connected.
2. A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.

      Once in a while we need a little relief from the extreme pain we endure from banging our heads against the wall over and over again; while we wrestle with the many questions we’ve had for so long, but can never find the answers to.                                                                                                        

     There are other fascinating aspects of a true story-ya know-and sometimes diverting your attention to an equally addicting mystery can numb the pain…however temporary it may be.

     So let’s take a brief break from investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the Manson/Tate/LaBianca cases. Let’s refrain from the head banging and enjoy a little play time, shall we?

     I don’t remember the first time I learned of this whole “coincidence thing” - I’m guessing it was in junior high. A teacher or student brought up a series of too-good-to-be-true, seemingly uncanny, “coincidences” between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

I was instantly, and forever, intrigued.

     For those who have never heard of this, put on your Google thinking caps and have at it – I’m not gonna occupy space here explaining it in great detail. I’ll just mention 3 examples off the top of my head:

1)    Lincoln’s secretary’s last name was Kennedy.
2)    Kennedy’s secretary’s last name was Lincoln.
3)    The only known film of Kennedy’s assassination was shot by a guy named Abraham.

Are you with me?  Good.  Thank you. 

     A lot of my Manson/TLB research was happening at the same time the O.J. Simpson case was unfolding and taking center stage under the international spotlight - which made it a lot more interesting considering these crimes happened in the same city, in close proximity, and almost exactly 25 years apart.

     There were also a significant number of commonalities between the two crimes. Hollywood types, beautiful blonde woman, multiple stab wounds, constant media coverage, etc., etc.  Again, I’ll save space by not getting into details that are very easy for anyone to research.

     At some point I recognized a “Coincidence thing” between the Manson and O.J. cases. It was too obvious to ignore. There was even a Ronald Goldman listed in the index of Helter Skelter (I think his was one of the first attempts to score the role of a lifetime by becoming Manson’s attorney). Of course there’s more. Keep them Google thinking caps plugged in!

Are you still with me?  Great!  Thanks again.

Flash forward.

     During the summer of 1996 (and later on) I spent some time running around with a well-known Manson/TLB author/researcher. I won’t name him in this article because it would only serve as a distraction to the point.

     One day he took me to the site of what used to be the Western Surplus store. Yes, the very place that Gypsy, Mary, and the boys attempted to rob at gunpoint on August 21st, 1971 (No one inside the store got hurt, but Gypsy and two of the boys got shot up pretty good by the blue meanies).
     I was thrilled to finally see this place I had only read about. The last thing on my mind at the time was hunting for coincidences.

     Upon arriving at what I was sort of hoping would still be the Western Surplus store, I noticed it was now a bicycle shop;  with a bright yellow awning, and the printed words ROYAL CYCLERY  jumping out at me - as if to say “Did you really think Western Surplus would still be here, dumbass?”

     Yeah it sucked, but it was still exciting to be there and check the place out. I mean, honestly, I wasn’t exactly shocked that a store that had been there 25 years ago was not there anymore - just slightly disappointed.

     While approaching the front of the store, the first thing I noticed was a colorful, hand written flyer taped to the window - with the words POOH BEAR highlighted and written in very big letters (Valentine Michael Manson - Charlie's son by way of  Mary Brunner’s - was nicknamed “Pooh Bear” after being born at the ranch).

 “Whoa” I thought, “A coincidence already? This is gonna be a trip.”

     Oddly, the place was closed. It was a weekday afternoon and all the surrounding stores were open. "What's goin' on here?" I wondered. 

     Scanning the scene, I saw a cut-out newspaper article taped next to the “Pooh-Bear” flyer. But, before I could read it, a woman suddenly invaded my friendly chat space and informed me that the store was closed “because of a shooting there recently.”

“Whoa!” I thought again, “What?!”

     She must’ve heard me because she immediately followed up with “The owner was shot and killed during a robbery.”

     Okay. The “Pooh-Bear” thing wasn’t a big deal really; I could walk away without the compulsion to share that with anybody. But, in addition, a robbery & shooting? At the same store?

     Well, honestly, that’s not a big deal either - considering it’s L.A. I could just as easily walk away. However, now, I might feel somewhat compelled to mention these coincidences to a few people. Casually of course – I wasn’t sold yet.

I decided to let the talking woman keep talking. And talk she did.

     As it turned out, “Pooh Bear” was a missing dog - the flyer was an announcement with a reward posted. Poor Pooh-Bear (along with his brother, “Care-Bear”) was kidnapped; taken from the widow’s backyard in broad daylight not long after her husband’s murder. “Whoever this woman is, life is being incredibly cruel to her right about now,” I remember thinking.

I wanted to know more.

     The newspaper clipping taped to the window was all about the crime. The robbers came in and ordered the owner’s son, an employee, to lie face down on the floor (just like the robbers in ‘71had ordered employees to do). The owner was then shot and killed in front of his son after emptying the cash register for the robbers.

     He was a hardworking, community oriented, very generous, and well-loved guy. I was getting the accurate impression the crime was pretty well known, locally, at that time. There was a buzz about it in the neighborhood air - And it reeked of sad.

     While taking a closer look at the article, I honestly, briefly questioned whether or not I was hallucinating - I thought I saw the name MANSON prominently bouncing around in the text! I immediately thought to myself “I’m looking too hard for coincidences now.”

No! I read it correctly! It says MANSON – and they are not talking about Charlie.

     In fact, there’s no mention whatsoever about the robbery & shootout 25 years ago. I remember thinking something like, “Is it possible no one knew? It’s certainly newsworthy; especially with the Manson connection!”

     I was happy to realize I wasn’t hallucinating at all. I wasn’t losing oxygen and seeing stars; I wasn’t about to faint. It was a guy named Ronnie Manson, and his name was mentioned at least twice in the article (without any mention of the irony). He was a local, long-time customer of the store who was very eager to see justice for the victim. 
Okay, that’s it! We are now officially entering “The Coincidence Zone.”

Are you convinced yet? Keep reading…

     Not only was Mr. Manson very fond of the victim, he was also holding vigil outside the store. He was staying, he declared, until the murderers were caught. Much like Charlie’s Angels were holding their vigil (during the trial) outside the Hall of Justice until he got out.

     I can’t testify as to if Mr. Manson actually followed through with the vigil, but at least that’s what he said he was doing.

     The talking lady somehow slithered away during my coincidence episode. She was gone. No one was there - just myself and the researcher/author I mentioned earlier. So what did we do? We did what all the lonely people do; we did lunch.

     Almost directly across busy Hawthorne Blvd., we noticed a place called “Pizza Show.” We both loved pizza way too much so there wasn’t any question where we were going next. And the place seemed very inviting from the outside; It looked retro and unmolested. I pictured The Brady Bunch going there for some big family celebration - like maybe Greg’s (smoke-free) 16th birthday party.

     I’m a pizza connoisseur (I even make it from scratch once in a while) and this place screamed “Good Pizza!” That’s actually saying a lot because good pizza in L.A. can be very hard to find.

     “Oh man! This looks like something from an episode of Dragnet” I told my lunch partner as we walked in. It would’ve been rhetorical to ask an employee if the place was in operation when the Western Surplus shootout happened; it was very clear the answer was yes.

     We were seated. We ordered. We ate. The pizza was great as expected. I don’t know if it still is today but it was then.

     Our waitress was animated and engaging. She couldn’t have been a heartbeat over 50. We dared ask her how long she had worked there. She surprised both of us by saying she’s worked there for the last 30 years. How convenient. We took it a step further and asked her name…


     I laughed. We both laughed. Luckily she didn’t get spooked by our laughing; she got curious.

“What’s so funny?” Rosemary asked.

     We asked her if she remembered a robbery/shootout across the street 25 years ago. She got very excited.

“I was HERE when that happened!” she boasted.

     “No way!” I yelled in my head. This was turning out to be one hell of a day. “No one’s gonna believe this” I blurted out loud. My lunch partner grinned with “I know” written all over his face.

     She remembered, during the shootout, some of the cops had taken cover in the pizzeria; they were waiting for the bad guys (and girls) to emerge from behind Western Surplus.  “It sounded like the Fourth of July with all the gunshots,” she mentioned as she shared the entire suspenseful story with us. It was a surprisingly interesting perspective of the events that day.

“I was also here when the place got robbed again recently,” she added.

Imagine my shock…

     As she was talking about the recent crime, I managed to slip in a question about if she knew anything about some guy named Manson who likes to hang around at the Royal Cyclery.

“Oh you mean CHARLIE MANSON!”


     I followed up with, “No, there’s a guy mentioned in the L.A. Times article taped on the window across the street. His last name is Manson. His first name is Roy, or maybe Ronnie.”

“Yeah that’s him," Rosemary replied, "Everyone calls him Charlie Manson…because he’s crazy.”

     Wouldn’t you know it? Captain Coincidence just wasn’t letting up on us today. At this point I should’ve expected her to say what she just said. I should’ve been able to tell her before she told me.

     Rosemary explained her remark. The local Manson was some homeless guy who had caused some trouble in the past.

“He tried to stab my boss with a knife!”

No kidding…

     Apparently Mr. Manson had been inside Pizza Show some time ago behaving erratically; causing people to feel uncomfortable enough to collectively request his immediate removal. The manager obliged by throwing Mr. Manson out the door.

     Mr. Manson responded by lying in wait outside, near the parking lot; anticipating his new nemesis to appear en route to his car.

He finally appeared – And so did Mr. Manson; with a “butter knife” in his hand.

And CLANG-BANG-CLANG, went the big iron door...

I was all out of reactions by then.


     There are, no doubt, more details and dialogue that I could color this story with. But time has an innocent way of stuffing memories (significant or otherwise) into a misplaced shoebox.
     Hopefully I remembered enough to be worthy of writing about. And hopefully there are others who will share their own similar experiences and/or discoveries - I suspect there are a lot of people out there who secretly have a coincidence fetish...

      Unfortunately, in 1996, not many people had cell phones. And those who had one, more than likely, could never have imagined that someday they’d be able to take pictures and shoot video with it. I sure wish I had an iPhone back then.

     I wish I had a picture of the Pooh-Bear flyer and newspaper article taped to the window. I wish I had video of the talking woman. I wish I had video of Rosemary telling her story inside Pizza Show. I wish I had a picture of the pizza.
I wish, I wish, I wish.

And…we’re not done with the coincidences…yet.
I found the Royal Cyclery article online. You can read it HERE.

As it turns out, the article is dated August 8, 1996 (I didn't remember that).
Depending how tired you are (or how dirty your computer screen is), it could easily be read as August 8, 1969.
[The Cielo Drive murders technically happened on the 9th, but are frequently dated the 8th because the crime was in motion late Friday night the 8th, and into early Saturday morning the 9th - both dates are relevant]

If you need to be refreshed on the Western Surplus robbery, check out a great article HERE on (Amazing work with your site, Cielo!).
By the way,

About 4 blocks south of Royal Cyclery, there once stood “Hawthorne Grill” which was the diner used in the movie Pulp Fiction. It was already closed, but still standing, when I was there in ’96. It’s since been demolished and replaced by some giant auto parts store.

Across the street from the diner is “Bluebird Liquor" - one of those lucky liquor stores that people drive hours to, to buy lottery tickets.

Look it up.

Max Frost

Saturday, June 22, 2013


From a friend of the blog- my bad I forget who sent it to me.  My excuse, still recovering from the tour.

SO I was reading my Sonic Youth bio and interestingly Kim Gordon, bassist/vocalist in the band, said her brother’s girlfriend was murdered by the Family!  I have no clue who she was talking about but she was in her late teens in 1969, lived in L.A., and has spoken of the chaos caused by the TLB murders.  So in the spirit of Manson inspired music here is Sonic Youth’s “Death Valley 69 video.  First verse “Coming down/Sadie I love it/now now now/death valley 69….it’s HELTER SKELTER MAN!!!!!!!

Another Manson Movie Never To Be Seen??

Haunting Charles Manson
Charlie Is My Darlin' (original title) 
(Eviliz feels the same about Charlie being her Darlin)

Nothing to read at IMDB really.  A cast I never even heard of.  You be the judge.

Q&A Steve Bekins

QUESTION-From our German friends-

Does anyone know what ever became of Steve Bekins who fled to Portland with Sandy.

I the great Eviliz tried to find him in the CA and OR prison systems but found nothing. 
I am assuming he is dead.

Link about Bekins @ Cats' site.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sharon pics

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Joel Rostau's Senior Class High School Picture

Brookline High School Class of 1954

I also was able to find that Joel was a Freemason. 

A link to the lodge that Joel belonged to-

I notice that the date of death is in correct on the card.

The plastic company that Joel was general manager of was Paulson Co. located in Brookline MA.  Joel's mother was the president of the company.

Barbara Hoyt tears Lulu a new one!

From Leslie Van Houten's 2007 parole consideration hearing, Barbara Hoyt wrote a letter to the board. It was an extremely telling letter, which probably sealed Leslie's fate for good in the eyes of the parole board. It sure made me think twice about Leslie ever deserving to get out of prison. Wait a minute! Come to think of it, I never was of the school of thought that any of these scumbags should ever be released....The letter was read in the parole hearing by Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira. Read on:

"Dear Board of Prison Terms. My name is Barbara Hoyt. I testified in many Manson related trials against these defendants for seven years. I also testified before you on 10/20/06 against Bruce Davis. I lived with the Manson Family for six months when I was seventeen years old. One of the ways I have to judge whether or not a particular defendant has changed or is sorry is by how truthful they are in the present about their roles in the past. If they are lying or minimizing their actions, I know it because I was there. I was struck by Leslie's 2006 parole hearing because she made that task more difficult by refusing, (like Sadie) --" referring to Susan Atkins, that's Susan Atkins nickname -- "to discuss the crime events at all. She not only murdered these poor people but she is now playing Manson-esque games, i.e., demanding that their memory cease to exist. This is a major red flag to me. In none of Leslie's prior parole hearings that I have watched has she ever owned up to how aggressive she was, or how aggressive her participation was in these crimes. If there was something she wanted and you got in her way, she could be quite abusive. Her demeanor never changed after the murders. Her affect was never sad to me. According to Sadie, who I overheard talking about the murders to Ouisch, O-U-I-S-H, Leslie forced Mrs. LaBianca into her bedroom, put a pillowcase over her head, and wrapped a lamp cord around her neck and shoved her onto the bed and held her down so Katie, Patricia Krenwinkel, could stab her, which she attempted, but her knife bent on the victim's collarbone. When Mrs. LaBianca overheard her husband being murdered, she jumped up from the bed with a superhuman strength, screaming, 'What are you doing to my husband?' She managed to keep Leslie and Katie at bay by swinging the lamp at them with the cord still around her neck. So Leslie got Tex. She knocked the lamp from Mrs. LaBianca's hands, and Tex, with a large knife, stabbed her, bringing her to the floor. There were several people that lived with the Manson Family who, despite believing that Charlie was Jesus Christ, that despite fearing the coming of the end of the world and Helter Skelter, despite the cult techniques of indoctrination, chose not to harm others, even if it meant not surviving Helter Skelter. There was also a group of Family members who couldn't wait to kill. Leslie was in the latter group. I believe that even without Charlie she would have harmed others in some capacity. I saw an interview with Leslie's father and he stated that, 'He has never asked her about the murders and she has never commented about it, that he has not lost any sleep over this entire -- over this crime, and that he doesn't think about the victims, and that he forgave Charlie Manson a long time ago.' It must be nice. If my child had been involved in a murder, I would have asked a lot of questions and I would have lost a lot of sleep. Leslie's ability to kill --" or, excuse me. "Leslie's ability to feel no concern for others isn't a trait she learned from Charlie but from her father. Charlie just gave her a place to express herself. She chose to kill. She asked to kill. She wasn't a mindless drug-crazed zombie soldier for Charlie, as she described herself in an earlier parole hearing. She had lots of fun. She played games, camped, sang songs, raced in dune buggies, had casual sex with favorite partners. She enjoyed herself. She was not an innocent who was plucked from her home. She came to the Family with her own group, including Bobby Beausoleil and Gypsy Share, who were both involved in another murder and attempted murder. Leslie also at the time knew that what she did was wrong. On the morning following the LaBianca murders I entered the back house of the ranch to find Leslie on the bed counting coins. A call came from the field phone that a man was on his way to the back house looking for Leslie. She told me the man had given her a ride last night from Griffith Park and for me to hide her, which I did. In 1977 Leslie was out of prison for a few months. She came to Paul Watkins' home and I met her there. She demanded of me, 'Did I know what it was like to live under a death sentence?' Having been a victim of an attempted murder, I said indeed I did know, and I wasn't given a trial like she had. I feel from her statements that the only person she feels is a victim here is herself. I compare the Manson story with that of Hitler because there are so many similarities. Both groups consisted of antisocial people who in their blood thirsty quest for personal power were willing to kill innocent people to get it. At least Hitler's cronies were held responsible for their murders despite pleas that they were only following orders, and so should the Manson followers who chose to kill. Both groups have left behind a legacy of evil that haunts us still today. I believe that if Leslie were truly and deeply sorry, she would stop these parole hearings and let the victims' family have some peace and serve her time in silence and dignity. In closing, I would like to say to Leslie that there is a fact that you seem to be unaware of, and that is, that murder is something you can never recover from or make right. The victims never get their lives back. The families never get to stop mourning. The witnesses never again get to live without fear, and the killers spend the rest of their lives in prison. You demanding to be able to leave prison would mean that you would be the only one to be able to walk away from the carnage you caused, and that would be a travesty of justice. Thank you. Barbara Hoyt."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kitty Throughout The Years

Kitty as a baby with her mom & sis.
We can see where she gets her classic good looks.


Kitty on right with kitties.

Kitty as a young teen on the right.

Kitty on the left.

Kitty on the left (1986)

Fairly recent, but exact date unknown.

Another fairly recent, but exact date unknown.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seed Bombs

Two years ago this month, Charles Manson gave an interview to NUG magazine that read in part:
"The Savior or Savior Project is an idea of Charles Manson’s for a seed gun: a gun that anyone/everyone can use to quickly and effectively plant seeds over a vast area. Currently, the project is developing functional loads and proper seed/compost mixtures to be used universally in common paintball guns. Mr. Manson has expanded the invention to include M-80 block guns converted to seed loads, seed-mortars, seed-bombs dropped by helicopter, seed artillery, etc."
You can see that article here. At the new ATWA website, they discuss the Savior Project in more detail, and state that "The Savior is not a patented invention, but more of an idea to be developed and spread."

Patty had this in the back of her mind when she visited the offices of a friend and saw the vending machine at right in the lobby. Seriously! There was a seed bomb vending machine right there: the last thing Patty was expecting to see in an otherwise non descript little office building. The seed bombs cost 50c each and are handmade in Covina, CA by an organization called "Greenaid Seedbombs." The Greenaid Website reads in part:

"Since 2010, Greenaid Seedbombs has been committed to making guerilla gardening more accessible to the general public with a growing line of seedbomb products that allow anyone to plant something in their local neighborhood or yard."

Patty is curious to know if Greenaid knows that Charles Manson claims to have invented their product? You might also be asking yourself right about now, what the heck goes into those bombs, anyway? ATWA has their original, unpatented recipe for you, right here:

"How To Make Seedballs - Basic recipe Ingredients:

2 parts potting soil or fine compost 5 parts pottery clay mix from your local art store 1-2 parts water 1-2 parts native seeds of your choice A tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper (add more depending on how large the batch) Large tub to mix ingredients Large box to dry and store seed balls

Directions: Mix the soil, clay and 1 part water thoroughly. There should be no lumps. Slowly add more water until the mixture is the consistency of the toy store molding clay that comes in a can. Add seeds. Keep kneading the dough until the seeds are well mixed in. Add more water if necessary.
Take small bits of the clay mixture and roll into ball about one inch in diameter, or desired size. The balls should hold together easily. If they’re crumbly, add more water. Dry seed balls for 24-48 hours in a shady place before sowing or storing. They store best in a cardboard box. Do not use plastic bags."

Of course, if you don't want to make them yourselves, the people at Greenaid will surely oblige. They do not have any M80s or paintball guns on their website. You can, however, get a slingshot! And they appear to be doing socially responsible things with their profits, so good for them.

And...for those of you who like the ooEEoo as much as Patty does, you will be interested to know that the vending machine was gone within an hour after Patty photographed it. No, really! Was it real, or just a dream? Did photographing it make it disappear, like a quark? Did Mr. Patty drop Orange Sunshine into her coffee this morning? A quick email to Patty's friend confirmed that her coworker's husband took it home for a weekend block party. So, sometimes a seed bomb is just a seed bomb, as they say.

Thanks to Stuart and A.C. for the heads up about the redesign and official California non-profit 501(C)(3) status of

Friday, June 14, 2013

High Society Manson Interview June 1985

This interview appeared in the June 1985 issue of High Society magazine.  It is the second part of a two part interview by Linda Francischelli.  The first part, which was in the May 1985 issue, can be found at various places online.  This second part of that interview is a lot harder to come by and certainly less read.  It's a great, informative interview, not at all bat shit crazy.


In a candid conversation with HIGH SOCIETY Charles Manson talks about drugs, Presidents Reagan and Nixon and late Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.

Last month, in High Society's exclusive interview with Charles Manson, he discussed the 1969 Hinman/Tate/LaBianca murders, the origin of the circle of friends -- a hippie cult known as the Family -- and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi's explanation of the crimes' motivations -- a gory tale he called "Helter Skelter."   Bugliosi convinced a jury that it was an interpretation of the Beatles' "White Album" that drove Manson and Family members t take the lives of eight people.  Charles Manson disputes this, however.  "Helter Skelter is a night club in the desert," he said.  "And the D.A. took it and made it into a motive for a crime -- and he sold it."  Manson also did not like the use of the word Family.  "What's the Family?" he chastised.  "The D.A. had to have the Family in order to win the conviction.

Part II of this interview focuses directly on three of the most publicized crimes of this century and delves into Beach Boy Dennis Wilson's involvement with Charles Manson and his circle.  It was Wilson who introduced Manson to Gregg Jakobson, a talent scout who was married to veteran comedian Lou Costello's daughter, and who, on August 9, 1968 -- exactly one year to the day before the Tate murders -- had arranged a recording session for Manson at a studio in Van Nuys.  Jakobson introduced Manson to actress doris Day's son, TV/record producer Terry Melcher.  Jakobson tried to persuade Melcher to record Manson, but after listening to his groups unusual music, Melcher decided against doing the session.

As we approached the California Medical Facility in Vacaville where Charles Manson is incarcerated, for the first time since we had secured the interview, I felt apprehension.  It's an awesome place, rows of sprawling buildings enclosed behind fences, complete with a watchtower and armed guards.  The guns pointed down at us reminded me of a prison scene breakout scene from an old Cagney movie, but we were very aware of their seriousness.  There are a lot of violent hostile people housed in the Vacaville compound, and for one brief moment I wondered why I had not listened to my mother when she said: "Do you have to do this crazy thing?"

It took over three months to finalize our negotiations and all the details with the prison officials.  Because it is so difficult to communicate with someone in prison, especially on a daily basis by telephone, we relied heavily on the assistance of a close personal friend of Manson's.  When we arrived, it was late in the day, and we decided to take advantage of the fleeting light and get some pictures of the facility from the road.  No sooner had our photographer begun to when armed guards came running, one of them with his hand on his gun in a practiced precautionary measure.  "You're taking pictures!" he yelled.  "That's not allowed."  The reason for this security is to prevent prison escape routes from being documented on film, but we were granted permission for a few shots.

Next came the search.  This is when I found out that the contents of my pocketbook were more significant than I had ever considered.  No opened packs of cigarettes, no cash over $20, no credit cards, emery boards or postage stamps, and so on.  We had been told in advance that we should not come dressed in denim clothing.  The inmates wear denim and it identifies them to guards and prison officials who are constantly on watch.

The wait for Manson to be brought down from housing to the attorney's visiting room, a small, glass enclosed cubicle where our interview was conducted, was a long one which dissipated some of my anxieties.  Charles Manson is a notorious legend in American history, and I looked forward to meeting him face to face and looking him straight in the eyes -- despite warnings by well meaning friends who believe Manson is capable of mind-control.  It is important, I think, to say that no time during the interview did I see a single trace of the raving lunatic I was led to believe Charles Manson is.  He was animated, very talkative, and sometimes rambled from one subject to the next, but was lucid, keen minded and very articulate.

High Society thanks Charles Manson for this interview and hopes you will find it as interesting as we did.

HIGH SOCIETY: Bobby Beausoleil was arrested for the Gary Hinman murder on August 6, 1969.  He called you the next day and asked for help.  Were the Tate murders which took place on August 9th, then planned to be similar to the Hinman murder, to throw the authorities off the track and convince them Bobby was innocent?

CHARLES MANSON:  The final tip on that circle was, get your brother out of jail.  How do I do that?  What the hell do I care how you do it?  Pay him!  Pay him what you owe him, or I'll pay him what you owe him.  Someone says, "We'll get him a lawyer."  And someone else says, If you get him a lawyer, all lawyers do is lie and take the money."  So then you go back into your system, and you ask who killed those people?  The lawyers, because we can't get no representation.

HS: Then you did send Charles Watson, Susan Atkins and the others to the Tate house?

CM:  Wait a minute, man.  I didn't say I sent anybody anywhere.  This is just a conversation in that circle.  Then I said, "I'm leaving this circle, because this is going straight back to the penitentiary, and I'm not going back to jail for none of you assholes."  They said, "Oh, brother, don't leave us.  We need you.  We love you."  And I said, "Look, man, don't put tags on my toes.  I've been through this before.  I'm solo on this outlaw trail, and I'm walking on my own ability.  Do what you do.   Pay your debts the way you pay them.  I had to fight four times for you, put my life on the line.  Here, you lock your hands and stand up for yourselves.  Don't ask me to stand up for you."

HS: But before Sharon Tate moved into that house, Terry Melcher lived there and --

CM: This interview isn't suppose to be about all this madness.  Do you want me to evoke all that bullshit again?

HS: What I'm trying to get at is --

CM:  Look here, if we had two or three weeks to sit down and sort it all out to where it is explainable....

HS:  I'm trying to ask you about the connection between Hinman, who was a musician, and --

CM:  Hinman was not a musician.  He never played anything in his life.  He played a little piano for his mother when he was about six years old, and he got a job teaching.  Bobby was a musician.  Hinman taught little kids.  You go to a studio musician and ask him what kind of a musician teaches on consignment for a music store.  It's a sham, you know.

HS:  What I see is Hinman killed, then people at the home where Terry Melcher had lived, and then the LaBianca's, whose former neighbor happened to have been Harold True, and it was at True's house that you and members of the circle had attended LSD parties before True moved to another location.  Were the Tate/LaBianca murders errors?  Were they to be, instead, Melcher or True -- revenge murders for the music deals that had gone down bad?  Didn't you want to be a rock singer?

CM:  See, again you got it backwards.

HS:  Explain it to me.

CM:  As I explained, man.  I was raised up playing Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Mel Torme, Eddie  Gorme.  I wanted to be in a Marrakech band at one time.  I wanted to be a bullfighter at one time.  I wanted to be a racecar driver.  I had a million fantasies, you know, but when I grew up and I faced the reality of what is, I felt differently.  I'll give you an example.  I went to the Troubadour when I got out of jail, and I was standing in line with my guitar, and I had some 1950 songs.  A guy took me over and showed me what acid rock was doing.  The biggest in my mind was "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White."  When I came out and heard The Grateful Dead, I threw my guitar away.  Man, music had run off and left me.

HS:  You didn't want to become part of the music scene?

CM:  I wanted to when I first came out.  I checked out the music scene.

HS:  But weren't you negotiating with Terry Melcher?

CM:  No.  That was Gregg Jakobson's idea.  Gregg Jakobson was broke.  Dennis [Wilson] had fired him.  He was good at what he does, and he wanted to produce an album.  He wanted to make the money, and had the connection with Terry Melcher.  They came to me.  I didn't go to them.  If I was after a career, wouldn't I be at his house saying, hey, look at what I can do?  So what's he coming to me for?

HS:  Melcher went to see you at the ranch?

CM: Yeah, he came out there.  He sent a truck out there with somebody that was suppose to record, but this guy went out of his mind.  the music was too much for him, he couldn't deal with it.  He had never heard music like that before, and he went crazy.  In the weeds, we play some pretty wild music, music that you ain't heard on the radio.  Now, I'll tell you something else.  When that murder jumped off, I was in San Diego with a girl named Stephanie.  I had picked her up in Big Sur.  I had a milk truck I was riding around in.  I hadn't even been living at the ranch.  I had been on the road.  I even had a traffic ticket, but they tore it up and transferred the highway patrolman.

HS:  Someone testified that you offered him $5000 and a three-wheeled motorcycle to kill Melcher.  He agreed, but then the next day he went home to Texas.

CM:  Let me tell you something.  Every rumkin, including your Danny DeCarlo, had five auto thefts, three burglaries, four sales and anybody would say anything.  The D.A. would knock all the cases off.

HS:  Danny DeCarlo, a member of the Straight Satans -- was he your bodyguard?

CM:  My bodyguard? [laughter] Danny was half-scared all the time.  He walked around with a pistol in his pocket.  His wife comes up and says, "Where's my husband?"  I say he's out in the barn, and she goes over by the barn and comes back.  She says, "You tell my husband to come back downtown."  He's up here, and he's telling her, "I'm not going back because I'm staying here with Charlie."  He's hiding behind me, you dig.... As soon as she would come, in would come all that negative force.  Downer freaks started coming in.  I've always drawn the line -- smoke a little grass, a little hash and some acid now and then.  Every once in a while, if you got something to do and you want to drop some bennies, that's reasonable.  I'm into crime long enough to know where to draw the line and where it's safe.

HS:  You don't approve of other drugs?

CM:  I don't approve or disapprove of anything.  I don't like what goes along with them.  I don't like downer freaks because they generally end up causing trouble, and them you have to beat one of them up, and when you beat one of them up, they can't feel it anyway.

HS:  There's a different kind of drug usage today than there was in the late sixties.  What do you think about today's drugs?

CM:  I think everything is good if used properly.  You have to go all the way back to the fifties to understand where the problem started.  I remember when there was nobody in jail for drugs.... Remember when they put out that movie "Reefer Madness"?  All that insane bullshit, and then everybody started putting all their problems off on drugs and blaming the drugs for their behavior.  All kinds of things, to where drugs started getting a bad name.  Then they started calling marijuana drugs.  Marijuana's never been a drug.  And then they come up with LSD, so they pushed LSD over on the drug market.  LSD isn't drugs.  And then peyote.  Peyote isn't drugs.  Your body is yours.  Your mind is yours.  And you should be able to do what you want to do with your body and your mind.

HS:  Would you tell today's kids to use or not use drugs?

CM:  I would say, change the laws and use the motivation of drugs for a positive purpose.  Sell it in the drugstore.  If you work and earn it then you can have it.  I think it is bad when people won't allow other people to be themselves.  If I tell you don't pick that up [he places a matchbook on the table], don't pick that up, don't even think of picking that up, I don't want you to, don't you dare --

HS:  I have the compulsion to pick it up.

CM:  Exactly, and that's exactly what we are doing to the kids.

HS:  So you think we should legalize --

CM:  Put it in the drugstore man.

HS:  The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson  -- was he a friend?  What was your involvement with him?

CM:  Yes.  I loved him.

HS:  Did he live with the Family?

CM:  See, there you go again, drawing lines to the Family.  What's the Family?  The Family had five people in it.  It was a music group.  It was called Family Jams.

HS:  If you prefer, I'll use the word circle.  Was Dennis Wilson a member of your circle?

CM:  Member?  There were no membership cards.  You were just there if you were, and if you weren't, you weren't.  People came and went as they wanted to.

HS:  Was Dennis there?

CM:  Yeah.  When the Buffalo Springfield broke up, they left a motorcycle over at Dennis' pad.  I wanted the motorcycle.  I went over to get the motorcycle, mainly because I liked the Buffalo Springfield.  I was there with this Neil something or other, Diamond or Young, and we sat and bullshitted.  We played some music and he said, "You play pretty good, why don't you take it up professionally?"  I was going to do something with Dennis.  I was writing songs for Dennis, and Dennis was taking them and giving them to his brothers' recording company.  They were changing the words all around and moving the song to the point that it was not saying what I wanted to say.  I said, later!  If I can't say what I want to say, then I don't want the money.  Fuck the money, man.  It's the principle.

HS:  What were your thoughts when Dennis Wilson died?

CM:  I knew it. I'd seen it.  Too many negative trips.  Dennis was a lost child.  He was thrown up in the public's eye before he really knew what life's all about.  When I got him to hitchhike up and down the highway a couple of times, he was thrilled to death, because that was like getting back in touch with reality.  He had forgotten what the regular people lived like.

HS:  The Beatles --

CM:  They killed the music.  They killed the music by not standing up with the kids they were influencing.  "Why don't we do it in the road?"  Do what?  Who's going to do it in the road?  We'll do it in the road, and we'll do the suffering and the kids come to the nut ward and say, we'll go down to Strawberry Fields, where nothing is real, Penny Lane, cut your fuckin' wrists, write "I love you God" on the wall and all that stuff, and then hang yourself on the fuckin' ventilator.

HS:  What was your reaction to John Lennon's assassination?

CM:  He shot himself.  The guy that shot him said, "I'm John Lennon.  I shot myself."

HS:  Do you believe in God?

CM:  I believe in everybody in this room.

HS:  Are you saying that everybody in this room collectively is God?

CM:  Yes. And it is a word that we use.

HS:  In 1985, where do you think we are headed?

CM:  We are going to destruction.  I have some predictions for you. One is that crime for money will be on the down.  Crime for principle will be on the up.  People are waking up to the fact that ecology is important.  There'll be a revolution against pollution.  We have to clean up our atmosphere.  This is not a question as to whether we want to or not -- we have to!

HS:  Do you have any comments on our president, Ronald Reagan?

CM:  He was one of my heroes when I was a kid.  I like him.  I used to watch him on "Death Valley Days."  Reagan was always one of the cleaner actors, he was one of the more upstanding good guys.  He was never a bad guy, but always a straight shooter -- him and Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and all those guys like Gabby Hayes.

HS:  What about Reagan as a president?

CM:  As a president what he says is right.  I have listened to him, and I haven't heard anything he has said that isn't right on.  See, one thing that is wrong with this country is everybody uses the presidents to get off on.  That's why we elect them so we can dump the shit all on them.  Like Nixon, he was one of the best presidents this country ever had.

HS:  Maybe you are crazy, Charlie.

CM:  No, no.  Because he was so sneaky [laughter].  If somebody is going to look out for your interest, would you rather have some rockydoo up there, playing with flowers, or would you rather have some terrible son-of-a-bitch that's just awful?  You know what kind of ol' lady I want if I ever get out?  I want her to be the meanest one, the most wicked bitch in the whole fuckin' country, because then I can hide behind her ass, see.

HS:  Charlie, if you could get out of prison right now, what would you do?

CM:  I'd get a girl and get her in the bushes.

HS:  After sex, then what?

CM:  There's no after. that's what I'd do all the time, and I'd try my damnedest to get rich, then I wouldn't have this happen anymore -- jail and all.