Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Questions & Answers with filmmaker Robert Hendrickson

Welcome to a Question & Answer session with filmmaker Robert Hendrickson. Please post any questions you may have for him in the comments section. He will respond as time allows.

For those of you who are not familiar with him, Robert Hendrickson is the co-director of the Oscar nominated documentary MANSON about the Manson Family which he directed together with partner Laurence Merrick. He also made the film,  INSIDE THE MANSON GANG and published the book DEATH TO PIGS.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bill Nelson disrespects Mrs. Tate

This video is old, I know, but it is informative, if not extremely uncomfortable to watch. Bill Nelson, as you all know was a Tate/LaBianca researcher/stalker/extreme creep. How he was able to get the wonderful Mrs. Tate to answer some of his ridiculous questions is beyond me. This man should of been ashamed of himself asking her such things, and going into detail after detail about her daughter's horrible murder. It was so unnecessary, and I do believe he was doing it on purpose to try to make her start crying on film. This man, while alive needed a few dozen lashes with a bullwhip, preferably administered by Col. Tate! This interview was broken up in sections, and the embed feature is disabled, so I made links. Sorry about the inconvenience. The first part of the interview starts at 6:54.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Michael Channels and Stoner Van Houten on "The Mic Show"

Recently, Michael Channels and Stoner Van Houten appeared on "The Mic Show" out of Tampa. It's an interesting interview. They were kind enough to give a nice shout out. THANKS, GENTLEMEN! If you only want to hear our mention, start listening at about 59:00.

Michael's YouTube Channel is HERE

We had the pleasure of spending a day at The Backporch Tapes last year. See it HERE

Friday, July 25, 2014

Programmed Horrors: Charlie Manson, Orange Sunshine LSD and more MKULTRA

The following is part of a post from There is much more regarding MKULTRA, besides the Manson connection HERE.


Is this the true face of our government? Many of our nation's bravest children are saying, yes! One of the first missions of Mind Control conspirators was to kill the messenger who would tell you the truth and build resistance. And kill they have! The Kennedys, King, Lennon and more programmed horrors than can be listed in any blog.

It is well known that followers of Charles Manson committed the Tate-LaBianca murders during the late 1960's. These murders had a profound impact on the peace movement through the long-standing psychological warfare goal of discrediting the enemy through covert associative terrorism. If one examines the case closely, it becomes obvious that Manson used mind-control techniques such as hypnotism, LSD, and other types of mental programming to turn middle-class suburbanites into selfless killers, but one has to wonder just exactly how Manson was able to accomplish this?

You were meant to believe that Manson developed all of these horrific skills on his own, though we now know he was in the hands of our own CIA. The CIA actively advanced this very same "programming" and it literally comes from Nazi German programs. LSD was developed by the Swiss who were working these programming methods and was mass-produced by major U.S. pharmaceutical companies for the CIA.

Consider that Manson was part of the hippie movement at the time of the CIA's project, MKULTRA, which implemented the use of drugs in order to conduct mind control experiments.

It appears that part of Manson's own supply of LSD may have come directly from the CIA. A new type of LSD known as "Orange Sunshine" was being used by the Manson Family immediately prior to the Tate-LaBianca murders according to Family member Charles "Tex" Watson, who wrote in his prison memoir that it was the use of Orange Sunshine LSD that finally convinced him that Manson's violent, apocalyptic vision was real.

In addition, Tex Watson recounted in his testimony that Manson used other drugs such as "mescaline, psilocybin, and the THC, and STP" and described a "mental acid" that "drew stuff out of your mind; and the other (body acid)...would be drawing your body."

Later, when asked about the use of drugs in the Manson family "Tex" said, "People seem to think that Manson had all of us drugged out, while he remained sober so he could easily manipulate our minds. This may be true, but a sorcerer such as Manson uses mind-altering drugs himself in order to contact spiritual beings, and gain supernatural powers."

"He did use drugs to manipulate and control us, and the more drugs we took, the easier it was for him to manipulate us with his philosophy. We all began to reflect his views, a mirror image of destruction, growing worse every day. We mirrored his lifestyle and attitude toward society."

Orange Sunshine LSD was manufactured and distributed exclusively by a group known as "The Brotherhood of Eternal Love" who operated out of a beach resort near Los Angeles. The Brotherhood had among it's drug manufacturers and dealers, one Ronald Stark, who is believed to have manufactured 50 million doses of LSD, and had known connections to the CIA.

It was this very same batch of acid that was available in abundance four months later during the fateful free concert held at Altamont Speedway. Four people died at that concert, one of them after being brutally stabbed to death by a group of Hell's Angels who had been given access to multiple tabs of Orange Sunshine. Many people who attended that concert noted that the LSD seemed to be "contaminated" and that the general vibe one got from using it was that of extreme negativity, violence, and death. Additionally, Orange Sunshine was in use among American ground forces during the Vietnam war, having been smuggled into that country from the California coast.

Manson's personal obsession was with "Helter Skelter" and his belief was that this event would ignite a black-white race war in America; the Tate-LaBianca murders and the murder of musician Gary Hinman were definitely staged with false clues that the killers (or perhaps someone else) hoped would be blamed on elements of the "black militant" movement.

Manson has said in interviews that he based some of his philosophy on the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Hienlien. In a scenario perhaps reminiscent of Mark David Chapman's and John Hinckley's infatuation with Catcher in the Rye, could Stranger in a Strange Land somehow have been Manson's program-trigger mechanism? Was the concept of Helter Skelter part of Manson's program? It is interesting to note how the "science fiction" character of Valentine Michael Smith in Heinlien's Stranger in a Strange Land very closely parallels Manson's own life: Valentine Michael Smith was a human being who returned to Earth after being raised on Mars where he underwent training in the occult arts; Manson was isolated in prison where he also studied the occult extensively and has quipped that he viewed himself as a man with an alien mind after his release from prison in 1967; both Manson and the fictional "Smith" gathered about them a group of followers into a communal lifestyle and practiced a sort of "group mind" telepathy; both attempted to transform the world as we know if via their respective philosophies.

Are these cults a thing of the past, or have they only been perfected and "normalized?" The study of emotional contagion and synchronized behavior in cult groups was an ongoing mission of the CIA, was it then applied to the culture as a whole? There is no mystery how LSD was so obsessively studied and distributed to millions of Americans through CIA networks. It opens up the "religious" centers of the brain where wrongful authority can program them. LSD was simultaneously distributed to normalize and culturally accept this programming method and discredit an entire peace movement. Many, many "legal" drugs now perform the same function of opening the mind to suggestibility via mass media.

So it came to pass that Charles Manson was stuck in solitary confinement at Folsom Prison when a new inmate was placed in the adjoining cell. It was Tim Leary, who was eventually captured with Joanna Harcourt Smith, who later admitted working for the DEA. "They took you off the streets", Manson informed Leary, "so that I could continue with your work." Charlie couldn't understand how Leary had given so many people acid without trying to "control" them.

With all this in mind, consider that if a ex-convict-turned-hippie like Charles Manson could program people to kill, then why not the U.S. Government?

In the book, Helter Skelter, Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi discussed Manson's programming techniques in depth, likening much of Manson's programming abilities to those used by the U.S. military.

Manson was in prison during the time that the CIA was known to be using inmates at Vacaville prison in the MKULTRA experiments, a fact that leaves one to speculate that perhaps Manson was some sort of mind-controlled guru created by the CIA and set loose against the "subversive" left-wing elements in order to discredit them.

Since his incarceration for the Tate-LaBianca murders, Manson has again served part of his time at Vacaville.

In alot of Manson interviews he will say things like "I'm only what i've been trained to be, I'm only what you thought you" "One interview he said Jimmy Carter made me what I am"

We now have substantiated proof that the CIA was working on projects to control human behavior. You are meant to believe that these were isolated studies, not influencing us domestically, not employed against us. How could we know otherwise?

Given total silence on the subject of collective unconscious manipulation, it is safe to presume that the collective unconscious mind was the true "enemy" of these programs. The individual would need to be more insane than Manson himself to presume otherwise.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fusion Magazine

Nick Tosches who wrote this article early on in his career is still pumping out novels, biographies and other works in his own unique, raw and sometimes disturbing, style.  Heck, he was just a kid when he wrote this!  A friend of Ed Sanders when Sanders had his book store, Tosches chronicles the evolution of The Family.

I do like sharing these older articles most of which are not totally unheard of but rarely posted in their entirety.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Knockouts - The Young Will Overcome

Swedish rock band, The Knockouts cover the Charles Manson tune "The Young Will Overcome".

Family Jams version compliments of blog reader "Rose"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Altamont, Dick Carter and Susan Atkins

I ran across an interesting item about Susan Atkins in a book on auto racing, of all places.  The book is Racing's Real McCoy written by Jack McCoy.  The book is partly autobiographical and a lot of racing history.  Any race enthusiast would enjoy this book with its over 900 photos and many statistics.

Dick Carter comes into play rather oddly, relative to this book.  The book I have was autographed by the author Jack McCoy but under that autograph is a bit of narrative written by Carter, for what purpose, I am unsure.  This stuff is written on the inside of the front cover.

On the inside of the first end page Carter has attached a four page story about himself.  Dick Carter aside from being a NASCAR driver and many other things also owned the Altamont Speedway at the time of the infamous Rolling Stone concert on December 6, 1969.

Carter claims in the third paragraph of his story that Susan Atkins worked for him at a business in San Francisco.  He does say that Susan's alias became "Sadie Mae Hawkins"  but I think he might have confused Sadie Hawkins Day with Sadie Mae Glutz.  Carter also says that "Abby" Folger was his cousin!  I did the best I could in trying to track down whether or not that was true but all I could really determine was that there were Carter's and Folger's that were related but if Dick Carter and Peter Folger were related it went back a few generations.  Both Carter and Folger are from the East Bay in the San Francisco area.

I'm posting all of Dick Carter's story, though most of it does not pertain to the Family.  It kind of gives you a feel for the guy.  The two middle pages of the story were cut off, I think by just one line, and there is not much I can do about that.  That's the way it was when I received it.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Manson Timeline

Last night a Word document with a well-reserched timeline was sent to the major TLB forums. The person who put in the hard work to compile it has requested anonymity.

I converted it to a downloadable PDF and have made it available HERE. Just enter your email address and it will be sent to you automatically.
I have been studying this case for 35+ years. I have read, enjoyed and learned from all of your blogs. I appreciate all the hard work and generosity you have all displayed in sharing your info. I started working on a timeline a couple of years ago because of my bad memory and I love timelines—it’s easier to see patterns of behavior and to nail down facts. I stepped up work on it recently and have amassed a helluva lot of info (maybe too much). Since I do not have the financial means to donate to your blogs, I thought I could offer up the efforts of my time as a way to say thank you and give back a little of what I’ve gained from your endeavors

If you look closely, or remember, you will see I 'borrowed' the original timeline from Mark Turner's seemingly now defunct site, I just added a lot more info. I was originally going to offer it to just one site, but in effort to minimize the seemingly ever present bullshit claims I’ve seen fly back and forth over the years of stealing the truth (how can you steal the Truth?? Maybe you can't HANDLE the Truth or find it, but it’s hard to steal it!! lol) I’ve decided to offer it to you all. You can only bring forward the Truth and the reality of this whole case and your blogs, is that all of it has been built upon the work of other people, many other people. Without all of them, you guys, my 35+ years of research and effort, this timeline would not have been possible. In putting this together I’ve come to realize that there is overlap in info that people paid money for (transcripts, parole hearings, legal docs, etc) and it just seemed like a waste. Chalk it up to a "Can't we all just share" plea. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox.

Early on I was given a great suggestion to add links. While I have not purposely left out sites, I've just been more easily able to find what I needed to back facts from Cats and Cielo's sites. If some or all of you decide you’re not interested, no problem - the journey was well worth it for me. I was able to narrow some areas of interest I want to focus on. If you decide you want to post it and change links, add your own or make any changes, no problem. I realize I've left stuff out, there's just so much info. If you decide to post it, I would like to remain anonymous. Give credit to Mark as the originator and I can just be a 'friend' to the TLB case. I uncovered none of this info on my own, just put 'some' of the facts together. I will be adding to my own timeline forever, and have started to work on key players' timelines as well as the years '67-69 in more of a micro way. If interested in that, I will give you what I put together, when it’s relatively put together. My original idea was to have the timeline posted as a Work-in-Progress and have people add verified info as it comes up - a collaborative effort if you will. Just a suggestion though.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Report "Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties" by Robert Stone

Patty stumbled across this title that was published in 2007 by novelist Robert Stone, a Pulitzer nominee for a collection of short stories called "Bear and His Daughter." In 1966, Stone stayed in Mexico where Ken Kesey was living. Kesey later moved to his family's farm near Eugene Oregon, but had introduced Stone to Tim Leary and Ram Dass. Stone acknowledges that these two had known connections to the BEL "who were considered heavies."

In the summer of 69, Stone and his wife stayed in Palo Alto rather than stay in sweltering hot Los Angeles. Of Hollywood at the time, Stone reminisces that

"the lure of sex (was) surely the biggest illusion of all, since it had long ago been rationed, arbitraged and factored in LA, as everything else would one day be."

This quote reminded Patty of blogger Leary who likes to remind us that sex was a big factor in the allure of the Manson Family. Patty would always counter that since it was the 60's sex was everywhere so what was so special about Charlie's girls? Some people say that Charlie killed the sixties, others say that it was Altamont. Stone is positing here that it was the almighty dollar that brought down free love and it did not happen over night. Cheers, Leary. Where the heck are you, anyway?

Stone remembers that early theories as to motive mostly involved people suspecting each other of
having had a hand in it, which is telling to Patty. What was all the paranoia about if there was nothing shady going on? He also remembers regarding Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farmers that  
"it was bruited about that they spent some time out at the Spahn Movie Ranch with the Mansonites."

Patty had never heard that. Do you think that could be true?  But wait, there's more! Carol and Katie, please avert your eyes because Patty does not mean to offend:

"I went back to the Chateau to do a joint with Janice. "Where did you get the dope?" She asked. "Did you buy some?" It was Jay Sebring's dope, and he had given it to me at a party."

Say what?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thesis on Susan Atkins

Whoever runs the website "" apparently doesn't believe a murderer should stay in prison for the remainder of time for helping end the lives of 9 human beings. I am very curious to know where this person gets their information from, and why they have the opinion that Susan didn't kill anyone, and deserved to get out of prison back when she had her first parole hearing in the 70's. He/She were also of the opinion that she was a political prisoner. Huh? Funny, but I thought Susan Atkins was in prison for having been part of a crew that murdered 9 innocent people, including a baby that was fixing to be born, and not only that, but taunted her victims, which, in my opinion makes it even worse. By telling the victim/victims ahead of time that "they are going to die" is torture. Nothing more, nothing less.

Here is this person's "thesis" on Susan where he/she sort of puts the blame on Linda Kasabian, as usual.(spelling/punctuation errors included):

My Basic Thesis

If you who don't know who Susan Atkin's is, she participated in what are remembered as the "Manson Murders". She is known for ** laughing and cackling at the relatives of the victims in court ** telling the Prosecutor, the Court, fellow prisoners that she told Sharon Tate "Look Bitch I have no mercy on you, you are going to die " **  painting the word "PIG" on the Tate house door with Sharon's blood ** stabbing and tasting the blood of Sharon Tate ** smothering or stabbing to death Gary Hinman ** changing her version of events to hood wink the ignorant ** and a bunch of other things.

So you may wonder why I support her release on parole. Before I explain I would like to state I think she is guilty of participation,  which she admits totally. I assert however that she didn't kill anyone, has served enough for what she did, and the killers will still be in prison.

Here is my basic position.

In the book "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi the head prosecutor of the case, on page 17 the police comment that the vast majority of stab wounds are similar, like a bayonet. This was a point held from the press as a confirmation point to know they had the killer. There were two knifes found in the house, a kitchen knife with animal blood on it and a buck knife found in the in the furniture with no blood on it.

This second knife was Susan's knife. As it had no blood on it, it didn't stab anyone. Also reported in Helter Skelter the buck knife was ruled out because the depths and widths of the wounds couldn't have been made by the buck knife. So Susan's knife didn't stab anyone.

Charles Watson, who did most of the killing, states that Susan did not kill Sharon Tate - he did it.

As for Susan changing the story, she simply may not have a clear memory.

The Coroners report on the stabbing of Frykowski supports the position that Susan didn't stab Frykowski. She tried to stab him during the fight as he tore her hair but apparently missed. By her testimony and Watson's book she hesitated and then Frykowski attacked seeing his chance to escape. What is interesting is she hesitated. She didn't jump right in like some Bride of Chucky. She didn't want to.

In the her book Susan says Linda gave her a knife because she lost hers. The Prosecutor always wondered if Susan had a second knife, stabbed with it, and later threw it away. In her book she says she held Ms. Tate and said "look bitch you're going to die." But in her Grand Jury testimony it is a bit different.

Q. Did you do anything to Sharon Tate at that point? 
A. I went over and grabbed her by the hand and put my arm around her neck. She looked at me and begged me to let me have her sit down and i was told before we even got there no matter what they beg don't give them any leeway. 
Anyway, I went over and put her down on the couch and looked into her face knowing that anything that I would say I was saying to myself, in a sense reassuring myself. I looked at her and said, "Woman, I have no mercy for you." And I knew at that time I was talking to myself not to her.

Notice the comment is directed at herself not Sharon, to reassure herself in her fear, and also self loathing.

A great deal is made about Susan lying, changing the story each time. If you read the details it is true they do contradict. She had a second knife from Linda, she didn't, Tex doesn't report one, Linda says nothing about an additional knife. She was sitting next to Sharon, she was in front. When they drove off to do the crime she remembers waving good bye, others say they heard that she said they were off to kill some Pigs. Each of these are self serving not only to Susan, but also to the person contradicting her. And the worst thing about memory is that the longer you think about something, the less accurate it is.

I propose that the reason for all this variation is she was scared and shocked, and may not have a clear memory. She may have even been scared for herself. After all she was in a room with two people who had just killed.

But the basic outline remains consistent She was told to get some clothes and do what Tex told her. She knew something nasty was about to happen but felt she could not resist. When she saw Stephen Parent shot she went into shock to the point he occurred as a thing (a comment used to show her soulless nature, when it actually shows how normal she is). Once inside the Tate house she did as Tex told her until he told her to kill someone which she refused. This is consistent except for the defense portion of her trial when she was going to die so why not lie just to get away from Manson, her trusted guru that threw her on the gallows to save himself..

She seems to have not killed Gary Hinman, even though she said she did. Her guilty plea doesn't support this -  she didn't go with intent to rob or kill, but changes her story to get away from Manson. Also interestingly while in her guilty plea she states she smothered Hinman with a pillow, the Coroners Report does not mention anything about him being smothered. Neither does the review granted to Bruce Davis, another family member. So despite her guilty plea, she didn't smother Mr. Hinman.

- So it appears she didn't kill anyone.
- The people who run the prison she is she is rehabilitated, has been for years.
- While she did have a deranged past based on her feeling unloved and worthless, she is now loved.
- The people who did kill will still be behind bars.
- The main reason she is still there is the Public memory and hysteria over her from the trial and from the movies. But Parole isn't supposed to be based on movies.
- It is highly doubtful she drank blood as that produces at minimum a horrible stink as your immune system fights with the immune system you just ingested. It can even result in painful cramps. She was not reported as having experienced either of these.
- The only source of these stories was her saying them in Jail and to the Prosecutor. She was warned the weak get abused in Jail, so when she was bothered by the long time criminal's she just made up horror stories based on her past to scare the Lifers. And I think she also did it because her need to tell the truth made it come forth. There was no reason to talk that bluntly and brag so openly, unless her heart wanted it out. But telling lies isn't worth life in prison.

So if she apparently didn't kill, and the murderers are still in jail, the only thing her staying in prison serves is our need to punish her.

But without her there would have been no Grand Jury, no Linda Kasabian coming forward, no names of the participants, no solution to the case.

She was heartless in her laughing at the court, but she was really laughing at her own sense of pointlessness. Plus watching the Prosecution in comparison to what they had offered and taken back, that may have caused her to laugh.

But she has paid for all that, more than many people who have murdered, except she didn't.

NOTE: We will not be responsible for feelings of nausea, and/or projectile vomiting caused by reading such crap:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Goodbye Helter Skelter, By George Stimson

Let me begin by saying I enjoyed the book immensely. I looked forward to its release because George Stimson has had decades-long access to Manson and especially to Sandy Good (and her collection of audio files) not to mention Lynnette Fromme. I knew going in that the slant would be towards Manson's innocence, but I believe that Stimson does consider him innocent. Stimson took great care to cite his sources. He interjects his opinions, but he develops those opinions incrementally and (almost) convincingly. I did not agree with him on a number of things but I won't focus on those. You'll have to read it for yourself. Despite disagreeing on a number of major points, I do though give it a thumbs-up. It is a must TLB read.

The book begins by running through well thought out chronologies of the mood in the USA during the 60's given the Vietnam War's division in American idiology, the largest such division since the civil war. It also takes the reader through an excellent chronology of the Manson Family from 1967 - 1969. Most of this we are already familiar with. Stimson artfully colors it with first hand accounts from Manson and various members from a variety of sources, not the least of which are Stimson's and Sandra Good's collection of taped telephone conversations. These are fascinating perspectives that we haven't been privy to until now.


The first motive bone thrown to us is on page 104. During a phone conversation with Stimson Manson says, discussing the "Magical Mystery Tour" vibe at Spahn Ranch.
"It was a game up until where Tex brought reality into play, with money. We wasn't dealing in no money. We wasn't even bothering with it. It was a drag."
The first episode covered is the shooting of Bernard Crowe. The Family, contrary to most stories had been planning on leaving Spahn for quite some time, not as a spur of the moment decision sparked by the events of August 9th & 10th. In an attempt to help the Family accumulate provisions for the stay at Barker Ranch, Tex comes up with an idea "that would eventually not only lead to the shooting of Bernard Crowe and intensify pressure on Charles Manson and everyone else to get out of the city, but would also create a lethal debt and an underworld favor owed".

Tex commits the theft of Crowe's money. Crowe calls the ranch and threatens to burn it, rape the girls and kill everyone. Manson's overriding concern is not the threats but the girl (Rosina) being held captive by Crowe as a result of Tex's ill-conceived plan. Manson asks for help but is turned down by Bobby B, Bruce, and the now hiding Tex. TJ Walleman is the only one with any military training agrees to help. But, TJ freezes in Crowe's apartment. Manson offers his own life by passing the gun to Crowe. Crowe informs Manson that he'll kill everyone instead and passes the gun back. Manson shoots. News reports the next day of a slain Black Panther are confused by Manson with the Crowe shooting, as Manson believes Crowe is dead. Stimson says regarding this mistaken conclusion:
"Although this conclusion was a mistake, it's consequences would greatly affect many of the people at Spahn's Ranch in the following weeks. The belief that Charles Manson had killed a Black Panther is one of the most important and yet most overlooked occurances in that summer in terms of understanding the murders that followed it."
The need to get out of LA and away from the Panthers was now paramount. More importantly, in the eyes of the Family, Manson had killed to protect them - and showed how far he'd go to do so.


According to Stimson Gary Hinman was "a small time drug dealer who manufactured and sold hallucinogens." Beausoleil, in an attempt to impress the Straight Satans sets up a deal of 1000 hits of mescaline for $1000. The Straight Satans's visit Bobby shortly after and rough him up claiming the mesc was bad.

So, Beausoleil goes to Old Topanga Canyon road with Mary & Sadie along for the ride to get his money for the bikers. Hinman thinks Beausoleil's attempt to get the money back is a scam. Things don't go well and Manson shows up to "show that boy how to stand up towards his own problem." He arrives and cuts Hinman with the sword to distract him from the gun he's holding, flips it to Beausoleil and leaves.

The inheritance motive was nothing more than the prosecution creating a motive for Manson to order the robbery that results in murder.
"But when CharlesManson left the house on Old Topanga Canyon Road there was no thought of killing Gary Hinman. Hinman had assured Manson that he had no beef over his cut face. Those who stayed behind after Manson left fed Hinman and administered first aid to his wound. (People who intend to murder someone usually do not administer first aid to their victim before killing them.) The killing only occured after Hinman went back on his word not to go to the authorities over his slashed ear."

Manson assembles them and sends them off no differently than he had many times before - to do a garbage run. The knives are for cutting the bad parts off of the fruit. The changes of clothes are to be changed into while they stop at a laundromat to clean the dumpster-soiled clothes.

(Yes, you would be correct in assuming I doubt this part).


Manson only is away from the car for 3 or 4 minutes. He looks inside the True house and determines that Harold is not there. He walks into the LaBianca house and has a cordial conversation with Leno (who is not alarmed or frightened) about Manson's not knowing anyone lived there. Leno replies something about having just moved back.

The reason the 3-4 minute timeline is correct? Linda Kasabian says that they were gone long enough to smoke 3/4 of a Pall Mall cigarette. This of course is not long enough for Manson to have done all the things that were attributed to him at trial.

(The 'ever truthful' Kasabian cigarette timer is infallible. Following along, children?)


Stimson believes (as most of us do) that the Helter Skelter motive is fantasy. What Stimson attempts to do in his book is to convince the reader that the REAL motive is the copycat or "get brother (Bobby) out of jail" motive:
To begin with, it must be conceded that the copycat plan was not a good idea. If the purpose of the killings subsequent to Gary Hinman's was to make the police think that the people responsible for Hinman's death were still at large it is unclear why a series of  copycat crimes would necessarily make them think that Bobby Beausoleil was not involved in the murder. They already had a very good case against him. His fingerprints had been found at Hinman's residence and he had been arrested in the dead man's car with the murder weapon still inside the vehicle. If similar killings were committed, why would the police think that Beausoleil was innocent? Wouldn't they likelier think that he must have had accomplices in the Hinman murder who were still at large (which in fact was the case)?

But, despite this fundamental flaw the ill-conceived and executed copycat motive was the main reason for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
According to Stimson's theory Tex Watson and Susan Atkins were fueled by their secret stash of methamphetamine. The "get brother out of jail" motive was hatched by the girls and Tex Watson. Manson was not a part of it, nor did he order it.

[See], I thought [that I had killed Bernard Crowe]. And I got all with Tex and I said, "You caused me to kill somebody, man. You owe me. Susie, you owe me. I fought three guys for you that wanted to rape you. I kept you out of it, man. You owe me, you owe me and you owe me. You got me fighting all over this town for you, man, 'cause you won't stand up for yourself. I'm not the policeman, man. Go to the cops and get them to do your fighting."

Every time it's someone's turn to die, come and get Charlie, put him on the line, let him die. Put me out front and let me face it. Let me face everything that no one wants to understand or no one wants to look at. Let me take the gun and go off into hell with it.

So I said, "You owe me, mister, and when it comes time to pay this circle, this covenant, this family, this ranch, you'll pay your debt to all these people that feed you, and serve the same God that you serve...

Here's my sin. I told Tex, "Come here. You owe me one."

So then I come back to Watson and I say, "You pay [Beausoleil] what you owe me."

He said, "How do I pay it?"

I said"[I] don't know I'm not your father. Do what yo're told. Pay your debt, or get off my road."

So he pays what he has to pay. And he does what he has to do. I didn't direct him to do anything. I told him to be a man, stand up for himself. I didn't tell himwhat he should do or how he should do whatever he had to do...

I never directed traffic on no street corner about anything. Man, I haven't got time for that.
Admittedly, I couldn't wait to get to "The Real Motive" chapter, especially since I was teased by the part in the Crowe chapter involving Tex's idea that "would also create a lethal debt and an underworld favor owed". The "get brother out of jail" motive was a let down for me. BUT I give Stimson kudos for developing a thoughtful argument.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kenneth Anger: Where The Bodies Are Buried

04 January 2014 By Mick Brown

Kenneth Anger, underground film-maker and documentarian of Hollywood's dark side, may be the last surviving link between black magic, Howard Hughes, Rudolph Valentino, Alfred Kinsey, Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Mickey Mouse. For Esquire, Mick Brown spends 48 hours in LA with a legend of the counterculture

Photo by Brian Butler

On a recent warm afternoon in Los Angeles, Kenneth Anger was taking a walk in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Anger, 86, is the US's most celebrated underground film-maker, named as a major influence by directors as disparate as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and John Waters. He is also the elemental spirit whose life draws a connecting line between some of the most intriguing figures of 20th century arts and Bohemia: the occultist Aleister Crowley, Jean Cocteau, the sexologist Alfred Kinsey, Anaïs Nin, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

Anger has always liked visiting cemeteries. "They're peaceful," he says. "They'd better be..." And Hollywood Forever, formerly the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, has a personal significance. It is the resting place of a number of famous Hollywood stars and stands behind the original Paramount lot; in fact, the studios were built on a part of the old cemetery.

Anger is an authority on old Hollywood. He is the author of two volumes of Hollywood Babylon, the classic account of Tinseltown's most infamous scandals, from the silent era up to the Fifties.

A number of the cast are buried here. Rudolph Valentino, whom Anger considers the quintessential Hollywood star ("he had a short, tragic life [dead at 31] and left a big legend") is interred in a crypt in the Cathedral Mausoleum. And there, beside the path where we are walking, lies Virginia Rappe, the young starlet who died in the riotous orgy of drink and debauchery that led to the comedian Fatty Arbuckle standing trial for rape and murder.

"Poor girl..."

Nearby is the vacant patch of ground that the actor Vincent Gallo, a friend, has told Anger he has purchased for Anger's own grave. It is next to the grave of Johnny Ramone, which is marked by a spectacularly ugly bust of The Ramones' guitarist, truncated just above the knee. Contemplating the prospect of an eternity spent in immediate proximity to one of the musical architects of "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", Anger looks nonplussed. He is open-minded about the prospect of an afterlife, but dubious about the Christian view of heaven, or whether that's where he will be going.

"Well, that would be nice. Good for them. But I am a bit sceptical about harps and so forth..."

Earlier that day, Anger and I had taken lunch at the Chateau Marmont. It is a venerable old Hollywood establishment that exudes a discreet sense of wealth and celebrity, which has served successive generations of movie and music stars. It is where John Belushi died of a drugs overdose at 33. A notice on the table in the restaurant requests you not to smoke or take photographs.

Anger is a stockily-built man of medium height, with ink-black hair and a pale and remarkably unlined face. He is wearing a smart tan suit, a striped shirt and an improbably jaunty tartan trilby, of the kind Bob Hope might have worn at a celebrity golf tournament (jaunty is not an adjective one would immediately associate with Kenneth Anger). Anger's reputation as a film-maker rests mostly on a body of work made in a 30-year period between the Forties and the Seventies: films that have the feverish, hallucinatory quality of dreams or acid trips, about death, beauty, sex and magic. Many of them reflect Anger's lifelong immersion in the occult as a student and disciple of Aleister Crowley, the English ritual magician and mischief-maker who revelled in the name of "The Beast".

I first met Kenneth Anger in London in the mid-Seventies, at the time of the official publication of Hollywood Babylon. We'd arranged an interview but, when I arrived at his modest hotel, that idea was quickly abandoned, Anger insisting instead that we adjourn to the NFT to watch a rather amusing British Thirties musical, Chu Chin Chow. It was a rare showing, he explained, and he didn't want to miss it. This was Anger the avid cineaste, with a taste for camp.

A few days later, we met for dinner. Anger was dressed in a smart corduroy suit, the model of decorum. It was a warm evening and at one point he removed his jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves to reveal a tattoo of the Seal of Crowley on his arm. The effect was strangely shocking. A larger tattoo emblazoned across his chest simply reads "Lucifer".

Anger is a fastidiously polite but reticent man. Anaïs Nin, the diarist and lover of Henry Miller, was a close friend of Anger's in the Fifties. Nin once described Anger as living "entirely in a world of his own"; a world he resists being scrutinised too closely. Some questions he greets with a silence so pronounced you wonder if he is going to answer at all, inviting you to suggest an answer to which he may, or may not respond.

So, your films are to do with the subconscious?

"True enough."

Silence. Would you describe them as magical spells?


Anger was born and raised in Los Angeles. His father Wilbur Anglemyer (Kenneth truncated the surname to Anger when he started making films), was an engineer at the Douglas Aircraft Company. He and Anger never got on.

Anger's closest family relationship was with his grandmother Bertha, who encouraged his artistic interests, and whose gossipy stories of Hollywood stars he would remember as his Grimms' Fairy Tales.

As a child, he danced on stage with Shirley Temple, and at five he appeared in Max Reinhardt's film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) as The Changeling Prince, scampering in spangles and plumes through the enchanted forest thrown up on the backlot of Warner's studios. The smell of the shellac, he recalls, was "almost like getting high".

He knew that acting wasn't his calling, but film had cast its spell. As a teenager, he began making his own films using the family's movie camera, inspired less by commercial Hollywood than the European art cinema of Eisentein and Bunuel.

He made his first exhibited film, the 14-minute Fireworks, in 1947. It's a dream-like, homoerotic, masochistic fantasy in which a young man (Anger) is brutally beaten by a group of sailors. At one point, a man unzips his trousers and reaches inside to pull out what appears to be a giant phallus but is in fact a lighted Roman candle. Anger described the film as "all I have to say about being 17, the United States Navy, American Christmas and the Fourth of July".

Fireworks was seen by Jean Cocteau, who wrote to Anger expressing his admiration. In 1950, Anger left the US for Paris and took a job at the Cinémathèque Française as the assistant to Henri Langlois. He'd spend much of the next 10 years between Europe and the US.

Anger refined his approach as a film-maker, developing his leitmotif: non-narrative films, with a dazzling use of editing and montage, invoking the silent era in their use of music as a symbolic, and often ironic, counterpoint. In Eaux d'artifice (1953), a circus midget in an 18th-century evening gown darts, like a figure from a hallucination, among the fountains of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli to music by Vivaldi.

In Scorpio Rising (1963), Anger filmed the rituals of a  Brooklyn motorcycle gang, juxtaposing the fetishism of chrome, leather and the holy icons of James Dean and Marlon Brando with images from a Fifties' "Sunday school" TV series, The Living Bible. It is set to a soundtrack of pop songs such as The Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back", Ricky Nelson's "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)" and The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack". Martin Scorsese later cited Scorpio Rising as the major influence on the use of music in his films.


Anger in the Fifties, around the time he lived in Aleister Crowley's home on Loch Ness, Scotland. Photo was taken in Paris, June 2013

Photographer: Brian Butler.

Two men proved a powerful influence on Anger's life. The first was Alfred Kinsey, the university professor who, in the Forties and Fifties, conducted groundbreaking surveys into sexual behaviour published as The Kinsey Report. Kinsey and his team interviewed more than 18,000 everyday Americans – as well as authors Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, the world's first sex-change Christine Jorgensen, and Marlon Brando – on their sexual behaviour.

Anger met Kinsey when the sexologist attended a screening of Fireworks in Los Angeles and bought a copy of it for his archives (Anger's first film sale) for $100. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Anger became Virgil to Kinsey's Dante, introducing him to LA's gay underworld, while Anger and numerous friends, among them the playwright Tennessee Williams, contributed to Kinsey's survey.

As well as interviewing subjects, Kinsey filmed various sexual activities in the attic room of his home in Bloomington, Indiana (with Mrs Kinsey downstairs, preparing iced tea and persimmon pudding for the volunteers). Anger was filmed there, he is quick to point out, "alone".

Masturbating? "Well, that's what they call it. I believed in what they were doing and I wasn't going to refuse. It was over in exactly 10 minutes."

Filming was somewhat problematic as Kinsey's cameraman Bill Dellenback had only one arm. "He was trimming a hedge at home," Anger says, "and the hedge-trimmer flipped out of his hand and cut off an arm. It was such a stupid, horrible accident, and for a photographer only to have one arm is kind of unfortunate."

Anger toys with his food. "But why bother to trim a hedge? I mean, forget about the extra leaves, they're not hurting anything."

The second abiding influence on Anger's life was Aleister Crowley. One of the most extraordinary Englishmen of the Edwardian – or indeed any other – age, Crowley was a poet, mountaineer, ritual magician and libertine who in 1904 claimed to have channelled from his "guardian angel" Aiwass a set of instructions and principles he called The Book of the Law, to form the basis of his own "religion" Thelema. Its key teaching was "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law". (Thelema is Greek for "will" and Crowley gave a succinct definition of "magick", his preferred spelling, as "the art of causing change to occur in accordance with will".)

Crowley gained public notoriety in the Twenties when, with a small coterie of disciples, he established the "Abbey of Thelema" in a farmhouse in Cefalu, Sicily, energetically practicing ritual and sex magick, until deported by Mussolini. The British yellow press condemned him as "the wickedest man in the world". Anger would have it he was one of the most misunderstood.

"That's part of his aura, his halo," Anger laughs. "His attitude towards sex being sacred and having mystic qualities, it's not surprising he should have been controversial." Crowley, he says approvingly, "was really like a diabolical little boy."

Anger's family were Presbyterian, but he rejected Christianity at the age of eight, when his parents tried to make him go to Sunday school. It was not an ideological position: "I just told them I wanted to read the Sunday funny papers."

As a teenager, he had become interested in the occult through books such as Sir James George Frazer's The Golden Bough. He was introduced to Crowley's teachings by one Marjorie Cameron, the only woman he's ever known he says was "without any doubt" a genuine witch: "In a good sense. She had what you'd call ‘powers'." Cameron was the widow of Jack Parsons, a pioneer in developing the rocket fuel that would take man to the Moon (he has a crater there named after him in recognition). He was also an occultist and leader of the US lodge of Crowley's magical order Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO).

In 1946, Parsons and Cameron practiced a magic ritual known as the "Babalon Working" to conceive  a "moonchild" as the Thelemic "messiah".

The "scribe" for this ceremony was a man Parsons had met only a few months earlier, but who – so Parsons told Crowley – displayed distinctly promising occult possibilities. He was a science-fiction writer named L Ron Hubbard. The Babalon Working failed: Cameron did not conceive. Hubbard ran off with Parsons' former mistress, a substantial amount of Parsons' money and a yacht both men owned in a business arrangement.

The official Scientology version of Hubbard's occult activities is he was working undercover to expose and destroy a "black magic cult". But Hubbard, Anger says, was "a pathological liar, you can't believe anything he said". What Hubbard took from meeting Parsons, Anger says, was the blueprint of a hermetic brotherhood in which the acquisition of one layer of knowledge leads to the next. "The difference is, Scientology makes everybody pay. Hubbard told Parsons that inventing a religion was a good way to make money. But Scientology is a cult. The whole thing is what I call a racket."

In 1952, Parsons was killed when fulminate of mercury exploded in his home laboratory. "There are various theories about whether he was responsible, or someone else did it," Anger says. "Howard Hughes wanted Jack to go and work for him but Jack refused. And Howard Hughes was the kind of man you didn't say no to, or if you did, there would be consequences."

Following Parsons' death, Anger lived with Cameron for two years, intensifying his study of Crowleyian magick. Anger describes his beliefs as "paganism" which, he says, "is just an appreciation of nature. It has nothing to do with so-called ‘black magic'". For many years he has been a member of the OTO, but is reticent about his own "magickal" practices: the OTO, he points out, is after all a secret society. He is not, he says, "doing magic circles all the time, although I have done it on occasion". But he follows Crowley's practice of "Liber Resh", a ritual meditation for greeting the sunrise. He affects a cheery wave: "Hello sun!"

For a while in the Fifties, Anger lived in Crowley's former home Boleskine on the shores of Loch Ness. (When Crowley first moved there, he complained to the local council about the "prostitute problem" in the area.

A mystified official was dispatched to investigate and reported there were no prostitutes. "That," Crowley replied, "is the problem...")

In 1955, Anger and Alfred Kinsey visited Crowley's Abbey of Thelema in Sicily. In the years since Crowley's eviction, the farmhouse had fallen into a state of near dereliction. "It was owned by two brothers who hated each other. One was a communist and one was a fascist, so I had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to each to get access to the place."

Local peasants, fearing a revival of Crowleyism, greeted them with a traditional curse – a mutilated cat on the doorstep. Anger spent a summer removing the whitewash that had been slapped over the erotic images Crowley painted on the walls, filming and photographing them. "There was a door to the kitchen, about 8ft tall, and on that he'd painted the image of the Scarlet Woman, nude, rather outrageously holding a golden phallus, and a cake – the Cake of Light – which was like his Eucharist. I photographed that." Anger sighs.

"I wish I'd taken it [away] but it was just too complicated."

There was, he says, "a distinct presence" about the place. "There were unexplained rattlings on the tiled roof as if someone was running back and forth on it. And on one occasion, my light just turned over and crashed. Just little things. I don't need to be convinced, because I saw them. These things happen."

The ruined "abbey" is still there, but the spectre of Crowley has been diminished by a new sports stadium that has been constructed behind it. Anger sighs, "It ruins the whole atmosphere."


Convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil, sometime guitarist in love, on the steps of the San Francisco house known as "The Russian Embassy" where he and Anger lived from 1966 - '68

Cowley's Thelemite teachings have been a major influence on Anger's films, most notably in what is generally considered to be his magnum opus, Lucifer Rising. Ten years in the making, in it Anger intended to elevate Lucifer from his place in Christian belief as the fallen angel, to his pantheistic role as "the bringer of light", or "the original rebel", as Anger has it.

Anger began the film in the mid-Sixties. The first person cast as Lucifer was a five-year-old boy called Godot – the golden-haired son of Vito Paulekas and his wife Szou, two original LA hippy freak-scenesters – who died tragically after tumbling through a skylight.

Lucifer Two was a guitarist named Bobby Beausoleil, who had briefly played with the seminal rock group Love. Anger shot 30 minutes of footage before the pair fell out. "He was behaving like demons in people do," Anger would later recall. Beausoleil vanished but reappeared with Charles Manson, and in 1970 was convicted of the murder of a music teacher named Gary Hinman, for which he is still serving a life sentence in jail.

In the late Sixties, Anger moved to London, bringing the troubled project with him. Through his friend the art dealer Robert Fraser, he was introduced to the Swinging London circle that included The Beatles, Rolling Stones and film director Donald Cammell, whose 1970 film Performance, about a spent rock star (played by Jagger) in search of his "demon" stands as the defining record of the darkening spirit of the times. Cammell, whose father had been a close friend of Aleister Crowley and written a biography of him, enjoyed telling friends how "The Beast" had bounced him as a child on his knee.

Cultured, erudite, exotic, mysterious – Anger became something of the presiding magus among Fraser's gilded circle. He was a house guest at Redlands, Keith Richards' house in Sussex, where Anita Pallenberg ("a very amusing girl") would recall waking one morning and looking out of the window onto the lawn to see Anger furiously pacing a magical circle. Keith and Anita were said to be contemplating a pagan wedding ceremony with Anger officiating, but had a change of heart.

It was Anger who introduced Marianne Faithfull to Mikhail Bulgakov's novel, The Master and Margarita, a surrealist satire about the Devil wreaking havoc in post-revolutionary Moscow. (Written between 1928 and 1940, the book was not published until 1967). Faithfull, in turn gave it to Jagger, inspiring The Rolling Stones' 1968 song "Sympathy for the Devil".

Anger wanted Jagger to take on the mantle of Lucifer for his film but Jagger demurred, apparently happy to sing about Lucifer, but squeamish about the prospect of playing him. "I think he was just busy with other things," Anger says diplomatically. Faithfull would later describe Jagger making a funeral pyre of all their occult reading in the fireplace of their Cheyne Walk mansion, and the singer was said to have taken to wearing a wooden crucifix for some time afterwards. Faithfull did appear in the film, as the demon Lilith, rising from a sarcophagus. Donald Cammell played Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld.

Jagger contributed a short piece of synthesiser music that Anger used on Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969). But the principle candidate for the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising became Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

Anger had first met Page in 1973 at a Sotheby's auction, where both were bidding for a manuscript by Aleister Crowley: "He, of course, had more money than I did." Page was able to indulge his interest in Crowley to the point of buying Boleskine and accumulating an extensive collection of his artworks.

Page provided some music for Lucifer Rising, although it was not used in the final version. His interest in Crowley has reportedly cooled and he now keeps Crowley's paintings, Anger says, "in the closet, which is strange... Jimmy is very skilled on the guitar, but I have no idea what somebody like him does with his life when not working. I hope he's having a good time. But he has an unfortunate complex for someone who's so rich – and he's earned a hell of a lot of money – and that is he's a miser. And I find that a very unfortunate trait.

"I've met a couple of rich misers, including the senior John Paul Getty [named in the 1966 Guinness Book of Records as the world's richest private citizen]. He got so annoyed at his freeloading Surrey house guests calling New York and talking for hours that he installed a pay-phone." Anger laughs. "Well, who could blame him?"

The soundtrack for Lucifer Rising was eventually created by Bobby Beausoleil, from inside the Oregon prison where he is incarcerated.


Film-makers Donald Cammell, Dennis Hopper, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Anger, London, 1971

The following day, I meet Anger again, this time at Hollywood's oldest restaurant, The Musso and Frank Grill, which has occupied the same spot on Hollywood Boulevard since 1919. Anger seems more at ease here, seated in the twilit leather booth, with waiters in red and black uniforms, Duke Ellington percolating quietly in the background and the ghosts of old Hollywood crowding around.

Anger developed an interest in Hollywood macabre at an early age. The actress Thelma Todd lived just a couple of blocks from Anger's family home, and when, in 1935, she was found dead in her garage of apparent asphyxiation (nobody could explain the blood on her face...), he went over to watch them take out the body: "I was always doing things like that."

An unusual hobby….

"Well, other boys collected stamps… The fact was, I was in Hollywood and all these things were happening. I thought they were bizarre and interesting."

He began to assemble an unrivalled collection of newspaper reports and photographs – gossip sheet tittle-tattle, police blotter notes, publicity stills, morgue shots, etc.

In 1959, living in Paris and in need of film-making funds, Anger dove into his collection, shaping the hair-raising catalogue of drug abuse, debauchery and premature death that became Hollywood Babylon.

The book begins with DW Griffith's recreation of ancient Babylon for his silent 1915 epic Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages. Built on the dirt road that Sunset Boulevard then was, the mile-long set was the biggest yet seen in Hollywood, a phantasmagoria of palaces, hanging gardens and soaring columns surmounted by sky-high elephants. Its streets were thronged with thousands of extras (paid $2 a day plus lunchbox) playing warriors, priests, handmaidens and harlots: a metaphor of Hollywood's flagrant excess, hubris and artistic license. "I assure you," Anger says drily, "ancient Babylon never had elephants sitting on top of columns. I don't think they even knew what an elephant was."

This is Hollywood as the city of sin, an early laboratory in the corrosive effects of common fame. Here is John Wayne lining up as the 11th man when the actress Clara Bow (the "hottest jazz baby in films") entertained the entire University of Southern California football team with a gang bang; the MGM producer Paul Bern blowing his brains out with a .38 revolver after trying to solve his impotence by introducing an artificial penis into the bed he shared with Jean Harlow; and Lou Tellegen, a leading man in the Twenties but by 1935 a has-been, committing suicide by ritually disembowelling himself with the personally monogrammed gold scissors he'd once used to cut out his press notices.

There is a sense, Anger says, in which he considers the movies evil. "Although, of course, my definition of evil is not everybody else's. Evil is being involved in the glamour and charm of material existence, glamour in its old Gaelic sense meaning enchantment with the look of things, rather than the soul of things."

The book's epigraph is a quotation from Crowley: "Every man and woman is a star". "Well, he meant that every individual has the potential to be a blazing star, but not in the Hollywood sense. I twisted it around so it was ironic." (Crowley himself visited Hollywood in 1916 taking note of its denizens as "the cinema crowd of cocaine-crazed sexual lunatics". He was one to talk…)

The base metal of gossip is malice, however, the prevailing tone of Hollywood Babylon is a kind of rueful affection. The malice is reserved for the studio bosses – philistines, slave masters and desecrators of talent – the censors and the gossip mavens like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, "the Paganini of piffle".

Anger likens his role to Seutonius, the Roman historian who chronicled the doings of the Caesars with unflinching candour. The moral is the oldest of all: Hubris and Nemesis; fame as a Faustian bargain, in which the price of worldly success, of living like gods, is shame, horror and degradation.

No story is more tragic and in its way more emblematic, than that of Lupe Velez, "The Mexican Spitfire". The wife of Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller and lover of Gary Cooper and sundry cowboys, stuntmen and gigolos, Lupe was a va-va-voom girl whose career had hit the skids by 1944. She planned a Snow White suicide, to be found by grieving friends and admirers, lying on her bed in a satin robe, surrounded by gardenias, tuberoses and altar candles, borne heavenward on an overdose of sleeping pills.

Alas, at the last moment, the pills reacted with the Mexican meal she had eaten earlier. Rushing to the bathroom, she slipped in her own vomit and smashed her head on the toilet bowl – an "Egyptian Charteuse Onyx Hush-Flush Model DeLuxe" (Anger is ever the stickler for detail).

"Poor old Lupe... I just see it as a bizarre, colourful, funny and tragic at the same time story. That's why it interests me, because it has all these elements." He pauses. "Also over the top, which, of course, I like."

Originally published in French as Hollywood Babylone, Anger's book became an immediate succès de scandale. In 1965, a pirated version was published in the US by a huckster named Marvin Miller. Sold in a plain brown wrapper, it shifted thousands of copies. Anger was obliged to bring a lawsuit to halt the publication, and was never paid any royalties. "Then, fortunately, Marvin Miller died. I won't say that I cursed him and then he died – but he didn't live more than a few years beyond that."

It was not until 1975 that the book was published legitimately in English. A sequel followed in 1985 with pictorial proof of what Carmen Miranda wore under her frocks – nothing – and a colourful litany of Hollywood deaths, written in Anger's crisp authorial style: "His body rotted in Chihuahua before his family turned up to claim it…" "He died after four days of agony as the chemical gnawed through his guts…").

Anger has a third volume in his bottom drawer, but has no plans to publish it. A number of the stories involve Tom Cruise and his association with Scientology, "and the Scientologists," Anger says, "will sue you at the drop of a hat. If he dies, I'll publish it."

Modern celebrity holds little fascination for Anger. The currency of Hollywood gossip has been debased by its ubiquity – who cares about Lindsey Lohan's season ticket to rehab? – and the cinema has lost its magic.

"I'm sure there are talented people working now, but I can't get excited about any of the current crop of actors or directors. I prefer to honour my past geniuses. The past is very living to me."

During the Eighties, Anger lived on New York's Upper East Side in a four-room, walk-through apartment. I visited him there once. The rooms were painted in alternate red and blue, the colours reflected in the walls, ceilings, furnishings, the blinds that shut out the slightest glimmer of daylight. One room was devoted to Valentino memorabilia including posters, dolls and a drug-store display box of Sheik contraceptives (unopened). In the corner, electric candles twinkling, sat a shrine to the dead actor that had once belonged to Ditra Flamé, the mysterious "Lady in Black', who'd leave roses at Valentino's LA crypt each year on the anniversary of his death. (Valentino begot shrines. According to Anger, the actor Ramon Navarro kept one in his bedroom, containing a black, lead dildo embellished in silver with Valentino's autograph, "A present from Rudy".)

Another room was a shrine to another of Anger's heroes, the German actor/writer/director Erich Von Stroheim, whose "orgy scenes" in films like Merry-Go-Round and The Merry Widow were the talk of Hollywood, with the extras emerging from the studio "as if having spent a weekend in Sodom", girls bearing the evidence of "whip marks or bites".

In the kitchen, the refrigerator was covered in a black shroud. Anger would not allow food and drink in the apartment. He was the curator, he explained, of his own museum and much of his memorabilia now comprises a touring exhibition. But much too has been lost in break-ins and burglaries in the numerous places where Anger has lived.

He is a man who seems to magnetise the volatile; by his own admission, he can be "a rather difficult person". Beneath the courteous, gentlemanly demeanour,  lurks a particularly dark sense of humour. On one occasion, after a spat with Robert Fraser (a difficult man himself, with whom people were forever falling out then falling back in again), Anger sent his friend a razor blade with the note: "The final solution to your stuttering."

He can be unpredictable. Six years ago, at the open-casket memorial service of long-time friend and fellow film-maker Curtis Harrington, he disconcerted fellow mourners by providing an alternative running commentary during the eulogy and then planting a kiss on the lips of the corpse.
When I suggest to Anger that his reputation encourages people to treat him with a certain caution, he shakes his head.

"I've never had any indication of that."

Does he think he's a good person?

"Not always. I have a few dark marks about cruelty to people that maybe didn't really deserve it." He pauses. "I had a couple of friends who committed suicide. I had a feeling it was coming but didn't do much to influence them one way or the other. Perhaps I could have done more to encourage them to go on with life."

One was the singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, who committed suicide in 2003 aged 34. Anger sighs, "It was over a fight with his girlfriend, which is ridiculous." Anger made a film in tribute to him which is his most stylistically conventional, and emotionally touching, work.

The other was Donald Cammell. After Performance, Cammell moved to Hollywood and made a series of similarly extreme films, but with diminishing critical and commercial returns. In 1996, after his last film Wild Side had been taken off him by producers and released in a cannibalised version, Cammell took his own life by replicating the climactic scene in Performance where the rock star (Jagger) is killed by a single gunshot to the forehead. It reportedly took him 45 minutes to die.

"It was kind of pathetic in a sense," Anger says. "Grotesque. But I warned him. Get out of Hollywood; this place is not working out for you. Go back to England."

Death by Hollywood.


Lucifer Rising (1972). British singer Marianne Faitfull, under the veil, plays Lilith. Donald Cammell, to her right, plays Osiris. Kenneth Anger is on the far right

Anger has proved immune to the temptations and betrayals of Hollywood. Commercial success, and the fame that comes with it, was never in the picture. "If it had been, I would have gone into commercial films. I always considered myself an artist."

Anger's work is in museums, institutions and private collections around the world. But financing was ever a problem. The Hollywood Babylon books have helped, and the support of interested patrons. Jean Paul Getty, the scion of the oil family, and a generous patron of the arts, was a close friend.

Like Anger, he was a Mickey Mouse fan and financed Mouse Heaven (2004), Anger's tribute to the cartoon character, featuring vintage wind-up Mickey Mouse toys. The film manages to be whimsical, amusing and, in characteristic Anger fashion, sinister at the same time. Getty died in 2011.

"Unfortunately for me, and about a dozen other people, he didn't leave a will," says Anger. "His widow Victoria was a nice lady, but she didn't go along with spending money on the arts."

Anger has also been supported in his work by the French fashion designer, Agnès Troublé, better known as Agnès B, who first met Anger in 1959 in the Cafe de Flore in Paris. "He was like an apparition," she remembers. "He had this very short hair, black, like a priest, and he was dressed all in black leather like
a biker. He was very beautiful."

Over the years, she has exhibited his work in her Galerie du Jour in Paris, and featured a Kenneth Anger T-shirt in her last Agnès B collection.

"He's like a myth for young people," she says. "His work has stayed so strong and contemporary. His films have not dated, because they are so unique."

A couple of months before my LA meeting with Anger, the ICA in London staged a weekend screening of his works. Anger was there (dressed, he pointed out, in an Agnès B suit). The audience was predominantly young, in many cases young enough to be Anger's grandchildren, the mood adoring.

Among the titles was one of his most recent films Ich Will! (2009). For this, Anger assembled propaganda footage of the Hitler Youth in the Thirties, perfect Aryan specimens engaged in character-building outdoor pursuits, then assembling in one of the displays of carefully orchestrated mass hysteria at which the Nazis were so balefully accomplished. The film bears familiar Anger hallmarks, a mirror of his obsessions about male beauty, violence, the roiling depths of the unconscious. It is deeply, hypnotically, disturbing. You leave it feeling you have peered over the abyss into something evil.

Anger prefaces the film with a quotation from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "Oh God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance, revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts."

But one thinks of another quotation, from A Midsummer Night's Dream, the film of which Anger appeared in more than 80 years ago: "What fools these mortals be..."

Afterwards, I fell into conversation with a young girl. "Didn't I think it was shocking?" she asked. What Anger had clearly intended as indictment, she took as approval.

Sitting in Musso and Frank, I tell Anger this. "I'm surprised someone can be that naive to take it that way." He raises a mocking eyebrow, then says, "After all, we do know a lot about our defeated enemy."

Duke Ellington is still playing in the background. The waiter is hovering with the bill. And another, more disturbing set of ghosts seem to be present.

"But I don't mind stirring up a little controversy," he says. ***

Monday, July 7, 2014

Prison Threats!

Brook Carey was the warden of California Institution for Women (CIW) Frontera for a year from March 1975 until February 1976.  She applied for the job almost on a lark having had no training or experience working in the law enforcement field in any capacity.  To her surprise she landed the job only to find out later that she was hired to fail.  The book The Accidental Warden (2008) is about her year of being the warden at the only women's prison in California at that time.  It was during this year that four Manson Family women were incarcerated at the prison, Atkins, Brunner, Krenwinkel and Van Houten.

The book was okay, a short and easy read.  Prison politics make up the majority of the book as well as the things that Carey felt she had done to improve the system and make it work better.   There are bits about the Manson Family women and even a chapter on a visit she made to Manson while he was in San Quentin.  She went to visit him to tell him the women did not want him to try to make contact with them any longer.  They felt that further contact would hurt their chances of getting parole, they just wanted to do their time and get out.  (We know that hasn't gone so well!)

The one thing in the book that I had never heard about was a threatening letter sent to the FBI, presumably by a Family member on the outside, saying that unless all the Family members were released by a certain date, five people a day would be killed.  They already had the first five chosen.  Here is an image of a transcription of the letter as it appears on pages 90 and 91 of the book.  The letter was postmarked Chicago Illinois.
I tried to find if this threat ever hit the newspapers and I could not find anything about it.  As this happened around June and July of 1975 before Squeaky tried to assassinate President Ford and before Sandy Good and Susan Murphy were arrested for writing all those letters threatening corporations and the heads of those corporations.  I'm inclined to think that it was Sandy and Squeaky who were behind the letter being sent even if they did not send it themselves.

While doing the newspaper search I found an article that tells about Manson threatening to send five people to kill Nixon and Reagan.  There seems to be a theme with the number five here between the two threats.  This article is from the Edwardsville (ILL) Intelligencer, September 11, 1975.  Had Squeaky never tried to assassinate President Ford we probably never would have known about this threat either.