Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brenda's gonna get married

It sure seems like just another normal day at Spahn's Ranch, but then what's considered normal at the Manson Family's commune in Chatsworth, California? Again, I'm driving up old Santa Susana Pass Road to do some more filming at the "commune"! But where does the word "commune" fit into the more proper label of gang-hangout? The young gangsters, that inhabit the old run-down western movie set, don't grow any vegetables there. They don't even grow their marijuana there. And the mind-blowing Belladonna-used to get someone to NOW - grows wild all around their Death Valley home commonly know as the Barker Ranch. No, these media labeled Hippies, shop at the supermarket just like all civilized beings-except they use the pick-up dock at the back of the store where the food is actually FREE. And "run-down old western movie set," just what is a Western town movie set supposed to look like? A Universal City amusement park with buildings two or more stories tall?

The point being, maybe all these little media misconceptions add up to a totally distorted "big picture" of the notorious Manson Family. Instead of listening to so many third-party stories, come along with me to a place where the real under-world meets "middle class" society and where "no sense makes sense."

"Good morning, my favorite actors, what's up for today" my greeting would sing out. "We've got to get Brenda to the LA free-clinic, right away" was their urgent response. Oh shit, "this doesn't sound like fun" was my immediate thought. "She's got to get her blood tested" Gypsy explained. I'm sure my responsive expression was a clear "Is it contagious"?

Gypsy quickly reversed a negative to a positive - "Brenda's gonna get married and she has to have a blood test, to get a marriage license. "But what's the hurry" I said. The girls all began to chatter, but I did recognize, "the wedding is this weekend."

Of course, now the big question is: "Who's the lucky guy and why this weekend"?

"Ron, the lawyer" - and with her trademark sheepish grin - Gypsy continued: "Mr. Hughes is going to marry Brenda and that way she will be emancipated and won't have to go back to her parents." I don't know why (there's already been massacres, missing bodies, etc) but Leslie Van Houten's attorney marrying one of the Manson Family's junior gangsters struck me kinda funny.

"Hey, do I get to film the wedding"? drooled from my wicked lips? Stares like I don't know what suddenly made the rounds. Oops, say what? Did I miss something? Then the girls all chimed in. "Sure, but you'll need lots of cameras" said one. "And there'll be a feast too," quipped another. Then, I noticed Squeaky's priceless expression of "What's going on"? But before I knew it, Brenda's rather simple legal remedy for not being ordered by the court (she was under aged) to be returned home, was turning into the wedding event of the season.

"Gee," I thought, "Will they invite ALL the lawyers and what about the Judge"? And what about Ronald Hughes, does he understand what he's got himself into? Wait till Brenda's mother hears about this, it'll be all over the high society page of the LA Times. "Pitman daughter to marry prominent attorney."

After a short while the whole Ranch was on fire with gossiping excitement and even the simple "blood-test" had become part of a grand ritual. Many piled into the bed of my pick-up and we headed off to the LA Free Clinic. All the while, the chatter of the girls continued and drowned-out the hum of my truck's engine. Typical female excitement associated with a thousand years of sacred traditional values was now actually upstaging the infamous MANSON trial.

As might be expected, upon realizing the entire scope of his "commitment" to a Manson Family darling, Ronald Hughes committed the unforgivable sin - he called off the wedding. Soon thereafter, mother nature drowned the life out of him.

As a consolation to me (for missing the wedding film event) I was invited to film Clem's infamous ritual where he puts on a black hood and hangs the judge.

Copyright 2013 Robert Hendrickson
used with permission for posting on

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Suze said...

Mr. Hendrickson, much thanks for sharing this. These little tidbits would be lost to the wind without your efforts.

Farflung said...

Another interesting story about the Family, where Pitman is getting hitched in order to become emancipated; but why the rush again?

Brenda and the Family had a vast field of choices from the rogue’s gallery, of Spahn ne’er do well breeding stock, why Hughes? Certainly one of the men willing to fellate Charlie publicly would have married Brenda on command, and keep this what it is being portrayed as; a strategic chess move. After all, there’s no quality requirement in regard to an emancipation marriage, so anyone should have worked just fine.

Hughes was defending Leslie and was viewed with some degree of animosity by Manson, who constantly kept the judicial process in disarray. How would an appeals court have viewed Leslie being defended by the potential husband of her former ‘roommate’, and a woman who consorted with Manson? I’m not a lawyer, but I would imagine there are a few avenues of conflict which would have resulted from that marriage, which had to be administered that weekend, and with Ron Hughes. After Hughes vanished, one may (just may) notice the urgency for, and overall need for emancipation had evaporated into the plasma.

Brenda was saving herself for a special occasion just a few months in the future. It would be during another trial (how romantic), where the judge presided over the freshly convicted double murderer (the groom), and a blushing accessory after the fact (the bride). How ironic getting married the day before you go on to serve various prison sentences, when the last association with matrimony was for the purpose of emancipation.

(cue: ‘Twilight Zone’ theme, over ‘The Newlywed Game’ intro, with a 50’s horror movie scream in the background)

Matt said...

TO Suze and Farflung:

To Suze: Thank Matt, he's challenging me to be more open about my experiences. I touch upon this event in my MANSON Book, but wrote this specific piece for eviliz.

To Farflung: OK, I'll bite. Who was the MANSON Family associate who went on the "Dating Game" with the Manson Girls in the audience cheering him on?


CarolMR said...

Matt - Was it Alcala who was on The Dating Game?

Matt said...

Yes, Rodney Alcala but this is the first I've heard of M girls in the audience...

Farflung said...

Here’s my dossier and analysis of…. the game show connections:

This one is pretty well known where a serial killer (Rodney Acala) competes and wins on ‘The Dating Game’.

The Dating Game Killer

But he wasn’t the only killer to appear on TV. Here’s a clip of another:

The Gong Show Killer

Did you spot the founder of The Crips, Tookie Williams (3:22-3:25) performing? So where’s the Manson connection? The producer of ‘The Dating Game’ and the host of ‘The Gong Show’ was Chuck (Chuckie Baby) Barris, who had horses stabled with some Manson people, and his daughter bought drugs from them as well:

Book Review of ‘Della’

Now the author used some ‘facts’ to disprove this claimed association, and he’s probably correct, but I publish the statement anyway. Because if there was a Mansonite on ‘The Dating Game’ and some of the ‘girls’ were cheering in the audience, then there should be some more scrutiny placed upon Chuck Barris. Besides the game shows, Barris also wrote this song for Freddy Cannon:

Palisades Park

Annnnd what group remade that same song in 1976?

Palisades Park ’76

Clearly Chuck Barris is mocking Manson with the Beach Boys version of his song. A coded message reminding Manson just who was pulling the strings all along; there simply isn’t any other explanation.

That’s all I got.

Matt said...

My brain hurts man. Lol.

orwhut said...

The d.o.b. I find for Brenda is Jan. 1, 1951. That would have made her 18 at the time of the murders. How old did a girl have to be to he emancipated in California in 1969?

DebS said...

@orwhut I wondered about that, too. This is what I found.

"Prior to March 4, 1972, the age of majority in California was 21. California lowered its age of majority after the passage of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1971, which lowered the legal voting age to 18."

Read more:

I think the age of majority is confused with the age of consent. The age of consent has been 18 years old since 1913.

The difference boils down like this, you could not make legal decisions in CA until you were 21 years old in 1969-70. But you could legally have sex with anyone at 18 years old.

Farflung said...

Now this is getting good. And by good, I mean that ‘Family’ bat shit crazy, where the more you peel the onion, the larger it gets.

So Brenda wants to marry Hughes to become emancipated.

Orwhut brilliantly connects the fact that Brenda is already 18, so what up wit dat?

DebS then finds the historical record of California’s majority age law which was 21.

So what’s the next step?

Even though California had a majority age of 21, a person could obtain a driving license at 16, purchase a long gun and ammunition at 18, AND without consent or warning, receive a special invitation from Uncle Sam for a free haircut, paid travel to foreign locations, where you could meet interesting and exotic people, then kill them.

So here’s the Catch 22. In order to sidestep the majority age requirement of 21 via marriage, Brenda would first have to get permission from her parents (bzzzzzzt!), wrong answer because that’s what she was trying to avoid in the first place. Or she could have filed for emancipation via the legal system (a judge), by proving that she was legally employed or otherwise self supporting (bzzzzzzzt!), wrong answer again, because the emancipation writ from the judge would make the marriage to Hughes superfluous.

Calgon take me away. So what was the genuine purpose of Brenda’s near nuptials? Emancipation seems even less likely now.

DebS said...

Nancy did get married to someone April 20, 1970 so the emancipation story might be correct. Deal was she got married in Nevada where it was legal for her to marry at 18 years old. You know, cross the old state line trick to get hitched.

My guess would be that the brain trust at Spahn did not realize that Nancy needed her parents permission to marry in California so they fell back and regrouped. They then discovered that Nevada was the place to go.

Nevada, Marriage Index, 1956-2005 about Nancy Laura Pitman
Name: Nancy Laura Pitman
Gender: Female
Residence State: California
Spouse: Mark Rollins Grant
Spouse residence state: California
Marriage Date: 20 Apr 1970
Marriage City: Las Vegas
Officiant Type: Civil celebrant
Recorded Date: 1 May 1970
Recorded County: Clark

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

Deb and Farf, Thank you both for explaining. Things are now probably as clear as they'er going to get. I hope I'm wrong.

Farflung said...

OK, here’s yet another slice of weirdness, brought to you by California.

Brenda needs to go to the free clinic for a blood test, presumably because she doesn’t have the bread to pay a phlebotomist who didn’t have the DTs. Fine, we’ve all been there to some degree.

But she was getting married to a California lawyer who appeared to be on the same financial rung as the Spahn inhabitants.

So why didn’t they get that unique to California license which is called a ‘Confidential Marriage’?

Hughes would have to be familiar with such a legal device, and it was cheaper than the standard license. It also lacked another condition of the standard license in that there wasn’t a requirement for a blood test. How you like them apples, huh?

AustinAnn74 said...

Not that this has anything to do with the story that was posted, but I have always wondered which girls out of the whole group got pregnant during the time Manson was free, besides the four we know about: Mary, Susan & Sandra & Kitty? I wonder if there were a lot of miscarriages, because of poor health? Didn't I read somewhere that Brenda might have given birth at Spahn too? Just something I wonder about?

Farflung said...

So Pitman got married on 420? Really?? Hitler’s birthday, that’s probably what won over Monfort.

But the onion continues to grow and grow, larger and larger, curiouser and curiouser.

For if Brenda was already married on 20 April 1970, THEN she would have already been emancipated and in no need of a marriage to Hughes later that year.

I’m starting to feel like a Zombie bit me.

beauders said...

mark rollins grant=bruce davis

Matt said...

Farflung: My uncle started out as a doctor in the now semi-ghost town of Randsberg. Over the years he kept buying desert property for 50 cents to $1 an acre. He even bought the ajoining properties on two sides of Edwards Air Force Base.

I think he almost bought the town of Lancaster until he realized it was cursed. Everyone thought he was crazy until many years later developers started buying HIS properties. Thanks to him Victorville rose from a truck stop to a suburban city. He made so much money, he stopped charging his patients, which turned him into a medical legend.


ColScott said...

You only need to get emancipated when you are UNDER 18. That happens all the time in Hollywood when people want to work without guardians. I love Robert to bits but this story doesn't track

DebS said...

Col, the age of majority is now 18 years old but it wasn't back then. See my comment to orwhut where I posted this-

"Prior to March 4, 1972, the age of majority in California was 21. California lowered its age of majority after the passage of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1971, which lowered the legal voting age to 18."

Read more:

ColScott said...

that cannot mean that parents had control of you till you were 21

DebS said...

It did mean that your parents were legally responsible for you until you were 21 years old, even if you were not living at home. So yes, your parents did have control.

In Nancy's case she had borne a child that was taken from her and put into the custody of her parents which negated any emancipation she might have had resulting from motherhood.

You are a young buck, Col!

beauders said...

am I reading right pitman had a child while with the family that was given to her biological family?

DebS said...

Yes, Beauders. It came out in one of the trials. Clem testified that he delivered Pitman's baby on a trail at the ranch.

A few years ago I spoke with a retired Napa police officer about Nancy and Monfort. He and his wife lived in a home across the street and down a couple of house from them while Pitman and Monfort were waiting out their parole time in Napa.

Prior to Nancy's release her parents bought a home for her to live in. It was a year or more before that happened and in the meantime Duncan and Joanne lived there with the child.

I posted the deed and other info here-

orwhut said...

I wondered if I was understanding correctly about Nancy's baby myself.

Patty is Dead said...


beauders said...

so did the child ever live with his/her mother? I know clem delivered a child but I thought it was stillborn or died soon after the birth.

DebS said...

Beauders I'm just relating what I was told and I do trust my source. The child was school aged that lived with Nancy's parents in Napa and was said to be Nancy's child. I do not know if they ever lived with Nancy or were raised by the grandparents.

It was posted years ago on forums that there is a birth record for a boy born in Feb. 1969 with the last name of Goucher and the mother's maiden name of McCann in Los Angeles and this was thought to be Nancy's child but I sent for the birth certificate and it's not Nancy's child.

Besides the fact that the Goucher's were not known to be associated with the Family that early, the mother's first name is not any name that Nancy ever used and I could not find that the father was related to Billy or Veldon. Also the baby was born in a hospital.

beauders said...

i'm not questioning the information just curious because I didn't know nancy had a living child while at spahn.