Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Missing Link Wrap Up

Click here to read parts 1,2,3 and 4 of this series.

Wasn't that last discussion about Grant's Pass interesting? BEL, DeCarlo, Ruby Pearl and maybe even George Spahn livin' all up in there? Another pink dot for Patty's gynormous western road map.

Anywhoo, back to Charles Manson. Charles knew about running shine, he knew about pimping women, and he knew a hell of a lot about human psychology. He was good at selling drugs before he even began. He hoped to become a big player: to be appreciated for the genius that he felt himself to be. In the beginning, this appeared to be a real possibility in both the drug and music worlds, as Charlie made more and more connections. Psychedelics from San Francisco and Boston were trendy, sexy, a great social equalizer from, say, 1965 to 1968. Charlie got to run with the big dogs during this time. He was the candyman, and the more wasted you got, the better his music sounded.

By 1969, folks like Michael Caine started complaining that the hippies were "dirty," as pointed out by JohnnySeattle on Katie's Blog About Nothing. What the elite used to consider participating in the social revolution was once again viewed as "slumming." The Family was going out of fashion, and found themselves being snubbed more and more often as carefree hippiedom gave way to the next big thing. They likely had fewer and fewer opportunities to make big deals, as evidenced by the independent deals gone wrong with Gary and with Lotsapoppa. People did not want to go to a smelly ranch or to a biker bar to get high any more, they wanted to do it in their upper class neighborhoods with their upper class friends. They wanted to go to night clubs, beauty parlors and health food stores to score, instead. This cultural shift cut out the lower class, mid-level managers (bikers and hippies) who had maybe a good three- or four-year run.

Tex Watson claims to have ingested a substantial amount of cooked belladonna root the day before the murders, as well as LSD and some sort of speed. Tex was high as a kite that night as per his testimony of September, 1971 available at "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." 

Patty always wonders if Charlie actually told Tex to write on the walls that night, or if Charlie was metaphorically saying that the writing was on the wall? Tex, who purportedly ate the drugs because he wanted to and not because Charlie told him to, must have felt to his very core that it was all "coming down fast." Charlie must have felt this way too, but for a different reason: his scene was coming apart at the seams. It would have been an ideal time for him to make a move to the desert, where the living is anonymous and dirt cheap. In the desert, many of the things you need can easily be taken from someone else. 

The leader of the old BEL regime, a very well intentioned man named John Griggs, died on August 3 from bad synthetic psilocybin that was supposedly making the rounds. Bloggers Cybot and Sherm maniac suggest the poison that killed Griggs and/or made Bobby's biker clients sick may have been a belladonna derivative, or even PCP (aka the PeaCe Pill, aka synthetic mescaline). Patty has also suggested that perhaps the bad trip was PMA. It is probable that drugs were marketed on the street as synthetic mescaline, psilocybin, or THC when in fact they were not. This is what the Hell's Angels had done up north: they sold "acid" that was really STP, and synthetic THC which was actually PCP. The old switcheroo is what street dealers of Molly still do today: they will tell you that Molly is a purer form of MDMA when actually, it's the same old shit.

There was a huge shakedown going on that summer: who would control the manufacture and distribution of the growing psychedelics trade in California and beyond? Whoever won that season of Survivor, Patty supposes. Most sources claim that Johnny Gale and Ronald Stark were the big financial winners in the end. The counterculture was of the general opinion that the "piggies" were trying to profit in one way or another from the drugs that had helped to define the grassroots hippie movement. The piggies were greedily taking it all away: the counterculture's adopted way of life and one of their major means of financial support, aka the distribution of marijuana and LSD. This seemed, to the hippies or slippies or whatever the heck you want to call them, highly immoral because the rich were only getting richer while the poor got poorer. The piggies did not need a bigger piece of the pie, but they were taking it anyway.

Many leftist organizations actually praised the Family's actions: most notably at the December, 1969 meeting of the Weathermen's Students for a Democratic Society in Flint, Michigan. Bernardine Dohrn is quoted as having said "First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the pig Tate's stomach! Wild!" Yes, some of the details in her description are off. Nevertheless, the stunning result of her words for the rest of the meeting involved attendees flashing each other a finger "fork" as a symbol of solidarity and resolve. Believe it or not, today Bernardine Dohrn is a Professor of Law at Northwestern University. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all.

If Patty was to elucidate her theory in 300 words or less, she thinks that Gary Hinman and John Griggs got caught in the middle of a huge turf war, and perished. Presumably this was due to their trusting and kind dispositions, chemical talents (or, lack thereof), business connections and affinity with the fairly peaceful, pre-1969 scene. Voytek, according to Roman himself, had stayed at Cielo "a bit too long:" the implication being that Voytek was into something dangerous. Indeed, even though Voytek went to film school and came from a wealthy family, he was at the time of his murder quite broke, which must have been psychologically difficult for him. He attempted to get a writing career going to no avail. He was well connected, and he needed money, FAST. He and Gibby had ingested an MDA-like compound within days or hours of their death according to their autopsies, which is telling. Roman immediately suspected John Phillips and apparently ransacked his car looking for the proof. Is it possible that Roman was not completely oblivious to the situation that led up to the murder of his wife and child? Could he have stopped what happened? This has actually been suggested to Patty by a somewhat reliable source.

The staff at Jay's fancy hair salons apparently heard about his death well before the public did, went to his home, and "cleaned" it. Jay's salons and Rosemary's dress shops would have made great dealerships in the new regime, but it was not meant to be. Leno likely funded Rosemary's shady business with shady money he made with his shady banking and gambling friends. Like Steve Parent's death, the deaths of Sharon and Gibby were incidental to the main goal of the evening. But because they were rich and beautiful, a (flawed) argument could be made that they were piggies, too. If it is true that Katie Krenwinkel and Bill Garretson were friendly, then he was not killed, presumably because he was not a piggie. Rather, he was "us," not "them."

Why were we so comfortable with swallowing the Helter Skelter thing, hook line and sinker? Patty has a hypothesis that is instructed by her 25 year old, dual major in political science and religious studies. Both disciplines have to do with understanding how the beliefs, behaviors and resources of a given population are managed by its leaders. In the East and at the Vatican, people know intuitively that religion and politics are the same damned thing.  They do not try to divorce the two, like we do here in the US. So, if what happened with the Mansons was not about "rational" politics or business dealings, then it had to have been about "irrational" religion. Our culture decided to demonize them rather than examine them more closely. This was a cult, we decided, and as such, the Manson Family's actions have been easily discountable as irrelevant and irrational for the last 40-plus years. Many careers were born of this premise, including that of The Bug.

Anywhoo, This is Patty's last post on this subject for now because obviously she has a lot more work to do: documents to find, people to interview, timelines to make. Won't you join her? She needs some damned help, please.