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?!


Unknown said...

Hi Patty. It's always fascinating to hear about the development of the illicit drug trade in this period, so kudos etc. as always. Here are a few comments of mine, based off very quick and rudimentary 'research' that ties more into my pet interests than anything else and so is likely irrelevant.

An often overlooked drug being peddled at this time was PCP (phencyclidine), the 'PeaCe Pill' (also called 'steam' in Sanders's book, the only place I've ever seen it referred to as that). I've seen a few places (links below; as always, random internet websites are probably not the best sources for citations, I know) which suggest the 'synthetic psilocybin' Griggs died from was in fact PCP. PCP has very similar effects to ketamine and DXM, which means for many people it isn't a 'fun' drug. For this reason it was often sold under other names- Hunter Thompson in a 1974 article ('The Great Shark Hunt') recalls taking 'MDA' he suspected was PCP, and in the book 'Angel Dust: An Ethnographic Study of PCP Users' the authors recount how PCP was often sold on the streets as 'synthetic THC' (aka 'tic') or, less commonly, 'synthetic mescaline'. Although that book was published in 1979, mislabelling of dope in that way wasn't a new trend by then as we know.

I'm not suggesting that the dope Hinman sold Bobby was PCP. It's very strong, for one thing, so I doubt the bikers would describe it as 'weak' if it was PCP. PCP is also very different structurally to MDA, STP, LSD etc. (it seems to be more related to opioids) so I'm not sure if it was as easy for the bikers/BEL to make as meth and MDA. Mr. Hendricks is probably right in suggesting it might have been atropine/scopolamine, especially if they felt they had been 'poisoned'. But I really would not be surprised if a lot of the bad 'acid' and 'mescaline' being sold at this time was PCP, and I'm personally very, very curious as to what role the BEL played in its distribution. An (anecdotal) story in one of the links below relates how Hell's Angels in the late 60s were hocking PCP as 'synthetic THC'; It probably wouldn't have been too hard for them to rip off a few vials of veterinary Sernylan here and there. The fact they had ties to the BEL makes my interest itch.

As I said, only very peripherally related to what you discussed, but still an interesting point to consider, I feel.


Unknown said...

And, at the risk of cluttering up the comments with more irrelevant Angel Dustiness:

I don't have a copy of Sanders's book with me, so I can't provide page numbers. But I recall his mention of steam/PCP as being related to a story along these lines:
A guy (I forget who) visits the Family ranch. He is loaded on steam, and barely functional. In this state, Manson manages to convince the guy to swap his nifty automobile for Manson's 'witchy' tent which is covered in swirling, Satanoid designs. The idea of being so messed up you consider handing over a car in return for a tent a 'good deal' always seemed hilarious to me, for some reason.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Where / when did I suggest that Gary Hinman was extracting Scopolamine from Atropa Belladonna? I said "KIDS" were extracting "Belladonna" from "Contact" cold medicine !!!

The problem is: the Hinman people are so ready to attack ANYONE who seems to NOT be in love with Gary that they are NOW after me. For all I know, Gary was the coming Messiah ! Mary Brunner talks about Gary in "Death to Pigs."

For good reasons, for decades, I have remained quiet about "Belladonna" and apparently such a subject has only caused problems.

Don't get me wrong, I love this site and Patty: Her research and writing is the BEST !!

IE: IF Paul Tate was really just one rung below a General in the Army Intelligence Corp, how could HE not be aware of all the drugs at his daughter's house? AND if HE was, why did NOT kick the DRUGGIES out of HER house and off the planet?


PS: When someone reveals how they "reacted" to a certain drug, what are they actually revealing about themselves?

Patty is Dead said...

I'm sorry that the "Hinman people" are picking on you, Robert.Join the might be fun to swap gary's third cousin's friend who knows Bobby's lawyer's abusive emails at some point. Funny. She started out Gary's cousin. Then she is Gary's second cousin. Then a friend of Garys second cousin. Most recently she said she was a friend of gary's third cousin. She threatened to sue Patty for harassment. Patty said, "bring it on."

Patty is Dead said...

Also: Sherm, thanks for your excellent contributions.

Unknown said...

In the Boston area PCP was routinely sold as "THC". The STP I took in the late sixties was an orange colored tablet sold as "Orange Wedge".

Matt said...

The regression in degrees of blood-relatedness and the convenient leap to "friend of a relative" was noted by myself as well. The only thing that did not regress was the level of mental illness. That seems to expand faster than Kim Kardashian's ass.

Patty is Dead said...

Angel, Hell's Angels?

Patty is Dead said...

OMG check this out: "Oregon man on meth fights off 12 cops while masturbating in bar." This was last Sunday...

Matt said...

Beating off in Beaverton? Never mind...

It took a Taser and more than a dozen officers on Sunday to finally subdue WHAT?

Anonymous said...

Tex Watson talked about using Belladonna.

Patty is Dead said...

charlie has this transcript of Tex' testimony:

"Q Did you ever use belladonna while you were at the ranch, Charles?

A Yes, I used it in April of '69.

Q Do you remember how you first got it?

A Paul Watkins got some from around the ranch there and Brenda cooked it up.

Q What form was it in when you used it?

A A root form."


"Q (By Mr. Bubrick) August the 8th, August the 8th running into the 9th. Do you remember August the 8th?

A Yes, the morning. I remember all that night before on the 8th. I was up all night on speed and I ended up at the waterfall. Where Charlie and the girls and I believe some babies were over there, a couple of babies that at the ranch, and the younger people were at the waterfall and there was belladonna hanging around that they had pulled up all around the waterfall and I took some belladonna that morning .

Q The root form?

A Yes.

Q Do you remember how big a piece you took?

A About the size I always took, about an inch or three-quarters of an inch long and about that big around or so --

Q (By The Court) An inch in diameter?

A The witness: About an inch; three quarters of an inch or an inch, something like that, not a large piece.

Q (By Mr. Bubrick) That was in the area of the waterfall?

A Yes, that was at the camp at the waterfall.

Q What did you do after, after taking the belladonna?

A Walked over to the ranch.

Q How far a walk was that?

A I'd say less than a mile."

then he passes out for a while, and then

"Q When you were awakened in time for dinner, did you go to dinner?

A Yes I did. I had a lot of energy but I didn't have a lot of pep or something, so I took some speed to get me moving, you know.

Q Do you remember eating?

A I didn't eat that night."

and then...

"A I remember a girl walked out, one of the girls, and everybody was taking acid that night, and that's what I was told, anyway, so I took some acid.

Q Who gave it to you, if you remember?

A I can't recall. I believe it was Squeaky, though I'm not for sure.

Q Did anything else occur that evening that you remember?

A Yes, Charlie called me over behind the car, down at the far end of the ranch, and handed me a gun and a knife and he said for me to take the gun and the knife and to go up where Terry Melcher used to live and to kill everybody in the house, as gruesome as I could, or something to that effect; or, "Make sure everybody is dead, as gruesome as you can," or something to that effect.

Q Did he tell you who was in the house?

A I think he said something about movie stars but I'm not for sure. I believe he did, though, I recall something about movie stars. I recall something.

Q Did he say something about Terry Melcher living there?

A No, he didn't. He said where Terry Melcher used to live, I believe.

Q Who else was present at this conversation?

A No one, just Manson and I.

Q And what happened after that conversation?

A Well, he continued to tell me the things he wanted done.

Q Like what?

A He said, "The bolt cutters are in the back of the car for you to cut the highline wires; then to go in and make sure everybody is dead as gruesome as you can"; and he said afterwards to wash off and to throw away the guns and the knives and the clothes; and then to come back to the ranch. Then he said something about writing on the walls, and we were walking over to the car that the girls were in and I said -- the first words that I had spoken -- and I said, "Now, what did you say?" or something to that effect. I wasn't real clear on what was to be wrote on the walls or clear about the whole thing, really; and he said, "Don't worry about anything, just make sure that everybody is dead and that it is done as gruesome as you can do it."

Patty is Dead said...

And this, Charlie said to Tex in those EXACT WORDS, while Tex was flying on Belladonna speed AND LSD.

Um, okay...

Patty is Dead said...

Here is an interesting story that Patty came across recently about a funnier, less gruesome misunderstanding between John Lennon and Peter Fonda while on acid in 1965:

"And Peter Fonda came, that was another thing, and he kept on saying, 'I know what it's like to be dead.' We said, 'What?' And he kept saying it, and we were saying, 'For chrissake, shut up, we don't care. We don't want to know.' But he kept going on about it. That's how I wrote She Said She Said."

The actor Peter Fonda arrived at the house, also on acid. He attempted to comfort Harrison, who thought he was dying.

I told him there was nothing to be afraid of and that all he needed to do was relax. I said that I knew what it was like to be dead because when I was 10 years old I'd accidentally shot myself in the stomach and my heart stopped beating three times while I was on the operating table because I'd lost so much blood.

John was passing at the time and heard me saying 'I know what it's like to be dead'. He looked at me and said, 'You're making me feel like I've never been born. Who put all that shit in your head?'

Anonymous said...

Some information on Belladonna is on Tex' homepage.

Anonymous said...

They didn't only have chemical stuff.

They also had biological stuff out of pure nature like Hawaiian B. Woodrose (Argyreia nervosa) et alii.

Patty is Dead said...

HAHAHAHAHA Patty is talking to another HS FB friend today whose dad and grandpa poured Unarius' landing strip! Its a small, small world...

fiona1933 said...

I had that stuff once …and once was quite enough. Like Patty, I cannot imagine why anyone would like it. I had one lungful..and yes, an amazing rush that was gone at once, and then this awful wired feeling that just would not go away. Couldnt sleep, couldnt relax, couldnt get into anything…more than 36 hours for it to let go.
The girl that gave it, should say forced it on me later went totally paranoid on it. Getting no sleep for weeks will do that. She started going around in a veil, big black veil. Her parents had to come out to HK and take her back to the UK and have her sectioned. Committed, I think Americans call that.

fiona1933 said...

Why would Army Intelligence Corps investigate drugs, Robert?

Anyway, I always heard Army Intelligence is, erm…not so intelligent.