Friday, December 6, 2013

A conversation with Onjya Sipe

This summer Patty was fortunate enough to have been put in contact with Onjya Sipe, author of "Devil's Dropout: Manson Follower Turns to Christ." If you don't know who she is, you may remember that her children and Dennis Rice's children will forever be known in Manson lore as the "chicken coop kids." Onjya, who no longer uses that name, and Patty had a long, slow conversation that Patty has reproduced for you below:

P: Hi, Onjya. Thanks for (corresponding with) me. It's awfully difficult to come by a copy of your book. Amazon has just a few of them, the cheapest one is $75! Your story has become a collector's item. I only just know a little bit of it. Did (name redacted) tell you that I write for and I'd like to ask you questions? My screen name is Panamint Patty.

P: I understand that you and your family are Evangelical Christians. Did I also see where your faith is involved in prison ministries? Like Dennis Rice was?

O: No I’m not in prison min. But I know Dennis.

P: How did you meet the Family? What attracted you to them? How do you view what happened in retrospect? Are you open today about having known them? How if at all did the experience affect your faith? Is there anything left to learn from them?

O: I met the family through a friend Jenny who I sort of grew up around. Just got back to my mom from a hippy commune and had (my daughter). She was one yrs. old. and my Hippy husband. Jenny said u have to meet these people there not who the news say they are. They found the truth. Just what u want. So they picked us up at my moms. The attraction seemed of a supernatural attraction they were very different. Dead to their self. Free. Seem like they found truth. But of course I had questioned (sic).

P: Wow, is Jenny the girl who called in to the Larry King Show with Little Paul in the 90's? Someone got him all upset and no one is positive if she said "Jenny" or "Ginny" as in Ginny Good. How is it you sort of grew up around her, and which commune were you living in?

O: In Joshua Tree.

O: I like when the Mansons are still getting interest and on the news I get to share with others how Jesus delivered me. Did u know Bill Nelson the expert on the Mansons? He wrote a book “Behind the Scenes.”

O: he was recopying.

P: other people’s work, you mean? Plagiarizing?

O: Bill Nelson was making copies of my book and selling them without my permission. He passed away. The main part of my story was the Mansons took me, (my) children, (and) Dennis Rice’s children from the cops. The girls ended up kidnapping (my daughter) on Charles' request. I got ahold of my brother (name redacted) whom I trusted to help me find her. He drove out to the cave and began to tell me that Jesus was what I was searching for and that he was the truth not Manson. I told him we needed to get guns and scare them. He said no I am going to pray for a miracle that god will find her and then will u give Jesus a chance? A few days later it was all over the news that they found her and the other kids in Lancaster. My brother came back to the cave to tell me and get me. He said remember would u give Jesus a chance? I did and I asked him into my heart it was glorious like a piece of pure gold that was a perfect fit. He is the answer and filled my emptyness. I heard about Jesus all my life but little did I know he was real. Manson family was a cult.

P: WOW where was the cave located? Thank you so much for sharing. Do you think the family was a cult rather than a gang or a political group, or all of those things?

O: 29Palms. Desert lonepine. I think a cult because Charles used twisted bible verses and made them into poems. Very twisted! Got to charge phone... 

And...that's all she wrote. Patty asked for more details a few times, but she gets the sense that none of this really matters to Onjya any more. However, Patty does find her absolutely lovely, and wishes to thank her for her time and for this fun quote: "If life throws you down, cover it with glitter." Amen to that!